Long distance doesn’t have to keep families from celebrating Grandparents Day together. With a variety of videoconferencing and video messaging tools available on most computers, tablets, and smartphones, it’s easy to connect with long distance grandmas and grandpas face-to-face.
You can do something as simple as setting up a Skype or Google Hangouts call for family members and friends to express their well-wishes and appreciation to the honorees. Many senior living and assisted living centers have gotten in on the video act, too, offering free videoconferencing to connect residents with busy or long distance family members.
With a little creativity, you can even turn a virtual Grandparent’s Day celebration into a keepsake gift. Use the camera time to produce your own entertainment video by singing songs or putting on a skit. Or how about letting the grandchildren interview Grandma and Grandpa about some of their favorite things and childhood memories? You can help the kids brainstorm a list of questions: What were the names of your pets? Who were your best grade school friends? What was a funny time you got into trouble as a kid? They might also want to ask about their grandparents’ current interests in food, music or sports.
Another idea is to help a grandparent create a legacy video. A video messaging technology platform called KeepTree lets you record a video and schedule it for future delivery. Jon Loew, the New York-based company’s founder and CEO, came up with the idea at a time when he was seriously ill and wanted a way to leave behind messages for his children and future grandchildren. After experiencing a significant recovery from his illness, he built the idea into a business that helps others connect—either now or later-through video. For a Mother’s Day promotional project in May 2016, Loew rounded up a group of grandmothers to visit New York City offices and dispense hugs to employees who couldn’t be with their own grandparents. The women also recorded messages of grandmotherly advice which, along with videos of the hugging sessions, were posted on the KeepTree website.
“Because of all the attention we got, we had grandmothers from around the country record videos with advice to people, saying ‘This is what I’ve learned over my life, and this is how it could benefit you,” Loew says.
When you’re working with an older relative to make a video, be sensitive to their ability and willingness to discuss certain topics. Some might not feel comfortable with the notion of creating a message to be delivered after they’re gone, for example. Loew’s father preferred to keep his messages light and breezy, maybe congratulating a grandson on a great basketball game, while his mother is fine with recording wedding day advice for a grandchild she may not see walk down the aisle.
Whether the message you want to send is poignant or playful, a video can create lasting memories of a holiday like Grandparents Day, or just make an ordinary day more special.
Have you used technology to create a legacy video of your parents, or grandparents? Tell us in the comments.