Columbia University Professor, Marianne Hirsh’s research reveals how family photographs have become an instrument of self-knowledge and the means by which family memory is continued and perpetuated.
A photo is not just a photo, it is one piece of a puzzle in how we make sense of our lives. Family photos are incredibly powerful, especially in the lives of older adults.
One of my friends in her 90’s told me that she scrolls through family photos each night before bed. Her eyes twinkled when she said, “these pictures remind me of all the good that has come from our 59 years of marriage. We had 3 kids, who had a total of 11 kids. Those grandkids now have babies. That is a lot of lives that exist because of what John and I created. John has passed on but I see him in the kids and grandkids”.
So which digital option is the best? There are a number of ‘digital photo frames” on the market. The problem is that they are just a way to share photos - it’s one dimensional. A far better option is the GrandPad, a tablet for seniors. On the GrandPad, families share photos and videos plus, and seniors share photos and videos, plus seniors call, video call, or email the family members pictured in the photos. It’s multidimensional, mentally stimulating, and engaging.
This is always important and especially so in a pandemic. Watching families and friends stay close and connected despite physical distance is one of the greatest joys of my life. Loneliness is an unacceptable and dangerous societal scourge that GrandPad is combatting one precious life at a time.