5864476164_1eda3b7a89_mA computer screen is a poor substitute for human touch, but technology can help Fort Oglethorpe seniors strengthen the connection to loved ones. Texting, emails, Skype, social media and cloud sharing are all ways to use gadgets and the Internet to bring those who are far away closer.

TEXTING
As great as a phone call is, texting is where it’s at these days, especially with teens. Quick and concise, a short message typed on a smartphone may be more enthusiastically received than a voice call that requires us to be in a quiet place and focus all of our attention on listening/speaking. That probably sounds cold and impersonal, but just think of the luxury this gives family to read your text and respond while they are sitting at work or watching a basketball game in a loud gymnasium.

EMAIL
Use Email for times when you have more to say than you can convey in a simple text message. Setting up email is as easy as opening a Yahoo account and finding out what your loved ones’ email addresses are so you can send them a message.

SKYPE OR FACETIME
Perfect for grandkids or great-grandchildren who aren’t old enough yet to text or email and when you want to add the face-to-face dynamic. You can not only share words but also see expressions and hear familiar voices. You can often pick up on things left unsaid by deciphering body language and sensing moods. Perhaps you can spend 10 minutes making silly faces with your granddaughter or reading a picture book to your grandson. Video conferencing is the next best thing to being there!

SOCIAL MEDIA
People today love sharing their lives on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and other platforms. Even if you don’t talk directly to someone that often, you can typically get a sense of what’s going on in their life as the channel broadcasts their written thoughts, their photos, even what music they are listening to. Even if you don’t have personal accounts, many Regency facilities have Facebook Pages that allow family to see what activities are going on.

CLOUD SHARING
Using “the Cloud” refers to the shift toward placing files on outside servers rather than keeping them completely inside of a single computer or smartphone. If your grown children are regularly taking pictures of the little ones, they can create online galleries and invite you to view them at any time. Sometimes you can add your own photos to the shared family gallery, creating a virtual scrapbook. Photo sharing is a way to passively connect with people even if you aren’t directly exchanging back and forth messages that often.

These are 5 of the ways you can use modern technology to have a larger presence in the lives of loved ones when they can’t visit you in person as often as you’d like to see them. If you have grown children who accommodate your desire to look into their family life and you aren’t too intimidated by technology, there’s no reason why your interactions can’t extend beyond that all-too-precious time when you get to see them in person.