Boston Hemophilia Center

Contact the Boston Hemophilia Center 617-355-6101
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Contact the Boston Hemophilia Center 617-355-6101
International +1-617-355-5209

TeleHeart: How to keep that “grand” connection

by Peg Geary, MA, MBA, MPH, Project Manager, BHC

AS A GRANDMOTHER, I cherish the relationships I have with my three grandsons: Bennett, 3, Everett, 1, and Landon, 8 months. My husband, Martin, and I were not expecting the thrill of life and love that accompanied the arrival of Bennett and Everett to our son, Matt, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital CT-scan tech, and his wife, Cait, an emergency-room nurse.

We didn’t think we could love anything or anyone as much until our other son, Dan, an attorney, and his fiancée, Shannon, a mental-health case manager, welcomed Landon. Our little family was so close and happy until COVID-19 turned our world upside down.

The pandemic has presented many obstacles for grandparents who grew up and functioned in a much different world. Families want to protect grandparents — many of us are considered high risk by virtue of our age and medical histories. That means we must maintain defensive positions, such as quarantining and social distancing, but separation from family is a big change for most of us and a huge sacrifice. As a result, our grandchildren are experiencing family life at a distance.

Well, COVID-19 may require we physically separate, but we don’t have to emotionally separate. Incredibly, there are many virtual methods we can use to keep us together when we are not together.

We have virtual medical visits known as telehealth or telemedicine, as well as virtual programming and virtual education. In fact, I believe we need virtual ways to hang on to — and express — our virtual love for our grandchildren. I call that communication method, TeleHeart!

How do we hang on to these “grand” relationships that are precious to us? The key may be to stay in touch and keep those lines of communication open. Here are some TeleHeart recommendations for grandparents:

  • Be open to learning and using high-tech communication techniques.
  • Consider buying a laptop, home computer and/or a smartphone, if you don’t have any of these devices. Sometimes, friends or family members may be upgrading and giving away their old systems.
  • Network with family and friends to discover the communication techniques that are affordable and useful to you.
  • Explore the methods and programs that are geared toward the ages and skills of your grandchildren, perhaps with the help of their parents.
  • Simple methods like phone calls, conference calls, texts and emails can be used to have a conversation with your grandchildren, depending on their ages.
  • Learn how to use communications techniques, such as Facetime and Zoom. It is so much fun to see your grandchildren as you talk with them. Better yet, it helps you feel like you are together.
  • When in doubt, use the old-fashioned method of mailing a card or a letter. Writing and using the postal system are becoming lost arts.
  • Remind yourself that one day we will all be looking back on this “life-at-a-distance” experience.

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