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Trying to make a phone call on the remote and other technological mishaps

PUBLISHED: 09:39 25 September 2017

Tech-savvy 60-somethings rule ok. Picture: BB

Tech-savvy 60-somethings rule ok. Picture: BB



A survey of grandparents asking about modern life has found... oops, that’s probably enough information to make your heart sink but I’m going to continue... has found they like email, digital cameras, the internet and home entertainment. And they think computing, cars and food are better than when they were young.

Computing? I had an abacus. This is research carried out by retirement property people RetirementMove (one word, apparently).

A chief irritation with today’s youngsters (ie 15-50s) is that they assume we older types try to use the remote control as a telephone and wonder why the fully enclosed, silver metal record-player in the kitchen melts the LPs.

Okay, maybe I am not totally up to speed with Instagram, iCloud and all the apps − my husband is currently hooked on a jigsaw app − but I am conversant with most day-to-day technology, even if Facebook and Twitter have some rum ol’ stuff on them.

“The traditional stereotype of a grandparent no longer applies. Not only do they cover a greater age range, but those who are over 60 are much younger both in mind and body than their counterparts from times past,” says the very encouraging press release.

But 2017 is not all good news. When asked about quality of life and community, 53% felt things have become worse. Of 1,200 grandparents surveyed, 85% reckoned people’s manners have “gone down the toilet” − not my choice of expression.

Here are some of the grandparent top stats.

Benefits of modern life:

1. Email; 2. Digital cameras; 3. Internet; 4. Google; 5. Cheap foreign travel.

Things that are better now:

1. Computing; 2. Cars; 3. Food; 4. Shops and shopping; 5. Healthcare.

Supermarkets, though? We have to take a trolley, fetch our own stuff from the shelves, take everything out of the trolley at the check-out, and then pack it all in our bags.

Things that are worse now:

1. Manners; 2. Crime; 3. Great Britain overall; 4. Community life; 5. Music.

I would hazard a guess that this research was conducted before Greater Anglia announced Christmas in London by Intercity train is cancelled... again. I love travelling by train but they are neither cheap nor consistently available. In March I happily purchased a three-year senior railcard and it’s beginning to look as if I’ll be using it almost exclusively on replacement bus services.

I’m sorry to say, like many other grandparents, I do believe things are worse overall. It is good we have increased awareness of issues such as bullying and gender and mental health, but it doesn’t seem to have improved things much. Twitter, which should be the friendliest of cyber spaces, is too often used as a forum for spiteful comments.

The practicalities of everyday life are more complicated. Simply driving from A to B too often includes a diversion via C and D. There are sometimes so many diversion signs, I lose track of which ones I’m supposed to follow and end up back at the start.

My teacher friends are stressed and I must be one of the few people in the UK whose PPI inquiry has yielded nothing.

All the great movies I watched in my 20s and 30s are being re-made, and rarely improved upon.

Not that I’m complaining, mind.


Both grandsons, George, five, and Wil, two, love Sooty and Sweep and we have the glove puppets.

Wil had his hand up Sooty but couldn’t control the little bear’s head which flopped back and forth in an alarming manner, and this meant Sooty only ever answered in the affirmative.

Sweep was being operated by George, who told me: “It’s Sweep’s birthday, and he’s nine.”

“Nine? How do you know he’s nine?”

“Because he was eight before,” replied George. There was a note of disappointment in his voice. Now he is getting older he is beginning to realise that grandma is not the omniscient being he once imagined.

National grandparents’ day is October 1...

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