Filling Senior Wishes, Tech Style

Your senior has lived a long life.  It may have been a wonderful life, or one that might not have met all their expectations.  Either way, they may have some things that they wished were different.  You can help them by trying to find out what they had wished were different; or what things they wished they had done, but feel it is too late now.  You might come to find out that it’s not too late for some of their wishes.    With internet technology, today, wishes are more in reach!   What a wonderful opportunity that you have to facilitate the filling of a wish or two!  No matter what the condition of your senior, if they can talk, they can tell you the items on their bucket list!  

Some common wishes are heard when you ask seniors what they would like to do before they leave this world.  Here are a few of them and how you might be able to help them.

“I Wish I Could Find my Old Childhood Friend”

We all have old friends that we have lost touch with and wonder what happened to them. Some of us have brothers, sisters or cousins that we may have had a fight or argument with years ago and never spoke to again.  It’s often our pride that makes us unable to reach out.  There might even an old flame or two in the past that your senior might think of from time to time!  The more years that go by, the harder it is to reach out.  Now might be just the time to reconnect.  

With the internet, it is so much easier to find people today.  As a social worker at hospitals, I have used the internet on several occasions to locate estranged family members of patients who everyone thought had no family.  It doesn’t always work, but I have had some successes.   Once I have found an address or phone number, the letters and calls go out.  I would write a note or leave a message saying I was writing/calling in hopes of finding so-and-so because this person was searching for them, and if anyone who received this message knew the person I was looking for to please contact me and I would leave a phone number and address.   Here are some internet sites that can help you to locate people.  It’s helpful if you have a full name, last city or state of known residence and approximate age. You can also search their spouse or children’s names.

I would start with these free sites:

Google   Seach for the person’s name in parenthesis and zip code if known.

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

ZabaSearch

If you didn’t have any luck with the free sites, you can consider paying for a search, but some say that they come up with the same information that is available for free.  Here are a few sites to try that will charge a fee:

Intelius.com/people-search

TruthfFinder

“ I Wish I Could see my Grand Kids”

One thing that’s makes me very sad is the fact that my mother passed away before she got a chance to meet my son.  She lived a few hundred miles away and a visit just didn’t happen during the 10 months before she died.  Back then, in 2002, FaceTime and Skype were not available yet.  But today you have these options.  

If your senior has distant family, especially grandchildren, or great grand children, that they have not had the opportunity to meet or see lately, why not try to connect by using FaceTime or Skype?  This technology allows live video calls and will make your senior feel like they are there with distant family.  There is no reason that this can’t be a frequent occasion.  By using technology, they can watch sports games, plays and concerts or attend birthday parties!  There is no longer a reason to miss these important events.

FaceTime is for use on IPhone, IPad, or IPod Touch.  Learn to use it here.   

Skype can be downloaded on any smartphone or computer with video camera, or you can use it right from your browser.  Download or learn about Skype here.

“I Wish I Could go Back to the Town I Grew up in”

There is such nostalgia to go back to one’s home town to see what it looks like today and reminisce about adventures that took place around town when you were young.  But actually taking a trip might not be an option for your senior.  Don’t fret.  A visit to your seniors home town may still be in your future.

If you have not been cruising around on Google Maps, you just have to!  It’s addicting to use the maps and street view to see how just about every city in the United States looks today.  Many, many cities overseas are also mapped out on Google Maps.

To use it, go to Google Maps.  In the top left search box enter an address, city, or even just a street name and city.  You can also enter a country or city and zoom in to a specific area.  In the bottom right corner, you will see a little yellow man.  You can drag him onto the map.  If the streets on the map turn blue, then you can place the yellow man on any blue street to see a street view.  Then click down the street to move along the avenue to see what it looks like now.  

If the streets don’t turn blue, maybe you see tiny blue dots on the map.  These are photo spheres.  If you move your yellow man to a photo sphere, you can get a 360 degree view from that point.   If you see a yellow dot on the map, this is a building that you can get a view of inside if you place your yellow man on it.

You and your senior can enjoy revisiting distant places of the past with Google Maps, or maybe just explore the world a little. What a great way to spend time together!


“Oh I wish …..”

For all the other wishes that your senior may want to fill their bucket list that you can’t get by conducting an internet search,

Skyping or Google Mapping, there is one other option to try.  There are several agencies out there that exist for the sole purpose to fill wishes of seniors!  Wow, who knew?  Check out these internet sites to see if your senior may qualify to have a wish granted!  

Wish of a Lifetime
Twilight Wish
Dream  Foundation     (For terminally ill adults/veterans)
Stella’s Wish                     (For patients with stage 4 cancer)
Second Wind
Dreams for Seniors Charity    (Florida Residents only)

I hope that you take some time to try to make a wish come true for your senior. They are worth it!  

Happy caring,

Sofia

Your turn. Do you have any stories about filling the bucket list for you senior?  Leave a comment!

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