While we heap praises on technology for keeping families closer, we also grimace at the dependency and the interruption it creates within our own lives.

A few weeks ago I received a text from a niece who had hurriedly taken her two children into her basement as a tornado warning outside Syracuse had been issued. I gave her some tips on how to keep the younger kids calm, such as singing songs with them, and talking them through the loud stormy moments.

She had all bases covered, and thanked me politely. Her response via text was “The kids have their helmets and their Kindles. They will be fine.”

While the idea of being entertained by technology is a great move in many situations, it causes me to contemplate on the need for human contact and interaction within all ages and at all levels.

All you have to do is go out to a restaurant or a park and see the interaction some grandparents have with their own children, and grandchildren. Often, social interaction is rare. I notice grandchildren with IPads, IPhones, and even younger ones reading a children’s digital story or playing a computer game. Adult parents answer cell phone calls at the table while their families and seniors are inches away from them. While an adult parent is on the phone, the teen son has earphones on and is texting his friends. And the grandparents? The grandparents go quietly unnoticed.

Some families entertain the notion that a family moment is a time to “do our own thing.” In fact, children follow suit and do what the parents do by example. Yes, grandparents are still at the table, but barely chatting with their family. Unfortunately, some grandparents feel like the intruders and not the guests. We need to mind our manners.

When planning an outing that involves grandparents and seniors make sure to include them in the planning of the outing. In addition, prepare younger family members about restaurant behavior and provide sound guidance. Try selecting a restaurant where all family members will be comfortable.

Tips on having an enjoyable family gathering with young and old:

- Include grandparents in selecting the restaurant

- Inquire about food allergies, and make a note of these before the final selection

- Don’t allow intrusive calls and texts to interfere with family-time

- Before ever going out to dinner, set rules of good behavior for adults, children and teens

- Practice good dinning behavior at home

- Leave technology at home

- Encourage grandparents to share life experiences

Remember, mind your manners when going out with a multigenerational family. And last but not least, don’t forget that family time is family time for every member in the family.

We hope these tips help and encourage you to enjoy family gatherings and dinners.

Senior Helpers of Orlando encourages the use of technology, but not at the expense of human and social interaction. We also believe in the importance of family time for all family members.

If you need more information about Senior Helpers home health care services please visit our website or call 407-628-4357.


Ana P. De Lane

Senior Helpers of Orlando Team Member

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