Going to college was the first time I ever had to fend for myself. It was the first time that I wasn’t living under my parents’ roof, eating their food or driving around in their cars. I was finally an independent person, living completely on my own. In a small college dorm with 50 other guys and only four showers. Still, almost everyone I met was excited at the prospect of their new-found freedom. It was invigorating knowing that I could stay up as late as I wanted, skip as many morning classes as I felt like, and suffer exactly zero consequences as a result.
At no point, however, did I cut off contact with my family. Communication was a necessary family trait for me, and I relished the Sunday afternoon calls my mom forced me to make, not that I was going to let her know that at the time. I was extremely fortunate that I found it so easy to balance a new life at college with staying connected to my old life back home.
I don’t believe this is an experience reserved only for those first few years moving out into the world. No matter what age you are, it will always be important to find a balance between family and independence. It can be easy to go out in the world, never look back, and live alone for your entire life, and just as easy to depend on others more than yourself, to lose your independence altogether. The weight on either side of these scales will never be the same for any two people. Everyone craves different levels of connectedness and freedom. What’s important is finding the right balance for yourself. Technology offers a great opportunity to find this balance; it makes communication between friends and loved ones instantaneous, which in turn allows more and more people to live on their own. I’m proud to work at Lifeshare because we have some of the most targeted communication technology available to the senior living communities.
But technology alone isn’t a catch-all solution. I recently tried to teach my grandma how to use Snapchat. It was a veritable disaster. I’d like to pretend it was 100% her fault and absolve myself of all guilt, but that’s simply not true. I know from first-hand experience that it is equally hard to learn as it is to teach new technologies. Fortunately, Lifeshare offers an amazing support staff who are much better educators then I could ever hope to be.
I have always been amazed at how quickly users can enjoy a new sense of independence and connectedness with our devices.