Aditi Panda

old generation

These days social media and mobile technology help senior citizens living alone maintain relations with friends, family and their grandchildren.

Generally when we reminisce of our grandparents we envision our grandfather sitting in his rocking chair and reading the newspaper and our soft spectacled grandmother visiting the temple religiously and telling us stories.

But now-a-days we see enthusiastic grandparents transformed into eager students happily learning the latest technology hooked to social media, spending many hours on the web.  The internet has visibly helped to bridge the generation gap and bring the generations closer by a click of the mouse.

older generation 3

This new journey on the walls of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or Skype connects them with their grandchildren and bonds them well with  their extended family from miles away.

For Meera Satpathy, a retired teacher, nine hours a day online isn’t nearly enough. “Severe arthritis slows down my mobility and the dependence on somebody else to take you out compels me to think of something exciting to do at home. My seven year old grand daughter introduced me to the world of games on the I-Pad. My 100 odd friend list is in the age group 7-20 and it has earned me a tag of a favorite grand mother”, she added contentedly.

The demanding schedule, erratic timings, stress and work pressure leave no energy for healthy conversations at the dinner table, which is the normal time for spending quality time together and family bonding.

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“Thanks to Facebook, I am able to share my opinion on the current issues which has boosted my confidence. Today, I do not hesitate to voice my opinion in front of youngsters who have started to take me seriously”, shared Ranjan Mohapatra, a retired Government servant.

Internet has been a boon in disguise for many senior citizens who live in crowded cities where travel is no more safe for the generation. Further, health conditions like arthritis and other age related ailments also hinder their mobility. Here mobile technology has opened up the window for them to a new era of communication.

As Devendra Rao, a retired professor puts in, “both my children are staying faraway, visiting occasionally. But because of social media both of us are in touch regularly. Initially my wife, a complete novice at computers, was hesitant to adopt the technology. But today she has become an expert and has opened her own Facebook ID, sharing her coveted recipes on the social channel as well as acquiring new friends half her age”.

Normally reading, gardening, watching television are supposedly the most indulged activities to pass time by the elders. But the present trend is going digital. User-friendly technology has facilitated our senior citizens stay happily connected with their genext making them feel loved and happy.

It is not only about digital connect between the senior citizens and their children and grand children, Internet and Social Media have virtually helped older generation to discover their school and college time friends online and cherish memories of their old golden days!

(Aditi is a freelance writer and pursues interest in the area of social issues)