One in three Brits now keep in touch with grandparents and elderly relatives by text message, email and even Facebook, a study has revealed.
Instead of picking up the phone, many elderly people are now using social networking sites to update their relatives, with 15% claiming their grandparents are regular users of Facebook. More than one in twenty claim to have grandparents on the micro-blogging site Twitter and half of those said they regularly keep tabs on their posts, updates or activity.
Nearly a quarter of UK grandparents now own a smartphone and one in ten regularly communicate on Skype, according to the poll by family pub restaurant chain Fayre & Square. A third can competently text, 25% are avid email users and 10% send messages on Facebook.
Sally Wainwright, spokesperson for Fayre & Square said: ”Grandparents and great-grandparents play a huge part in young people’s lives nowadays and it’s great that so many people are in such regular contact with their elderly relatives.
”Many people over a certain age may shy away from embracing new technology so it’s encouraging that many grandparents are staying in touch by modern means.
”Grandparents and great grandparents are the lynchpin of any family and it’s incredibly important to keep in regular contact with them by whatever means – whether it be email, Facebook or a family dinner in the local pub.”
More than one in five of those polled agreed that the typical grandparent is a lot more ‘tech savvy’ than they were five years ago. And 39% encourage their older relatives to keep their finger on the pulse when it comes to new gadgets.
Two thirds also said that grandparents were more likely to be technology minded if they had worked in that type of career. The poll also found that one in twenty would text their grandparent if they needed to get hold of them.
More than half of those studied said they would ring their grandparents for a good natter and a close-knit one in twenty speak to their grandparent on a daily basis. A quarter get in touch with gran or grandad most months to have a catch-up. Touchingly 15% of the 2,000 polled said they are so close to either one or all of their grandparents that they consider them to be second parents.
Just over one in ten adults said they don’t see their grandparents that regularly and as a result are not at all close. But it’s not surprising when the typical Brit lives an average of 47 miles away from their nearest grandparent.
Most of those polled said they meet up with their grandparents on a ‘now and then’ basis, but 20% meet monthly at a pub or restaurant. A sociable one in ten see their elderly relatives weekly either to go shopping or to meet at another relatives house. On the whole respondents were more likely to be closer to their mother’s parents than their fathers.
Sally Wainwright from Fayre & Square added: ”Everyone leads very busy lives so it’s often hard to see grandparents and other relatives, especially as many people have moved away from their home town.”