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Age, grandkids, trips and technology

 

We just returned from Atlanta where we watched a grandson compete in a karate tournament. It was fun being with family and watching the kids perform.  When we got home, we were quite tired, which brings me to the point of this thought.  Parents, if you have young children that are active, do not expect retired grandparents to keep up with everything.  They probably don't have the energy to do so and usually they need more rest to keep going than you.  This is especially significant if you have not dealt with elderly folk before, as some families lose parents or grandparents early in life.  In our case, my parents lived into their 80s and 90s, so we have some experience.  My suggestion is to invite them, but don't push back or get upset if they decline an invitation, especially if six or eight hours travel is involved.   

Changing subjects, I just found out that it is possible to have a cell phone that contains an app that makes the phone appear to be turned off when it really isn't.  The app allows others to control the phone's camera and microphone functions without you knowing about it (translation - spy on you).  Does your phone contain this app?    Hard to tell, but if you look up "DFU mode for iPhones," you can find out how to truly turn off the thing.  For other phones, just remove the battery.  
Connecting the two previous topics, I don't think age has much to do with whether or not you can operate an electronic device (computer, phone, stereo, tablet, etc.).  So when I see magazines or articles like “iPhone Help for Retirees,” I get a little twitch; no, a big twitch.  Having difficulty with these things hits all ages and has more to do with your inherent gifts or abilities than age.  For example, I have difficulty with foreign languages.  It started when I was in the 9th grade in my first foreign language class.  I still have it today a billion years later.  I took four years of German in college (a long story) and spent two years in Germany in the Army.  How's my German today?  Phooey, nonexistent.  I am the poster grandparent for the idea that if you don't use it, you lose it.

So don't feel badly if you have trouble dealing with your iPhone or tablet.  Instead, surround yourself with friends who are good at it and they will help you through it.  And if you are a grandparent, tell your kids you want invitations to activities but not to get concerned if you occasionally decline.

Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA.


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