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More families using technology to connect

Posted: 3:58 PM, Aug 09, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-09 17:58:03-04

DENVER -- People are moving to Denver at record rates, but when they move here most are leaving family in some other part of the country.

“It’s been very hard on us,” said Katie Rudel about living away from her mother, Diane Wilson, who lives in Ohio. 

Rudel and her family live in Denver.

Like a lot of families Rudel and Wilson are finding ways around the distance.

New technology and a growing number of senior citizens using video calls, allow families can be closer than ever before.

“We do FaceTime every day so she can see the boys grow and she can be with us,” said Rudel.

With the easy click of a button Wilson reads stories to her grandchildren, plays games, and even bakes cookies.

“I’m a part of everything. I don’t miss anything. I get to talk to them. I get to laugh,” said Wilson.

But it's not just for laughs. 

FaceTime became a necessity after a tragic turn.

"Life changes so fast, and you don’t know. I mean my mom was perfectly healthy. Perfectly healthy. One day she was at the gym and she went to the hospital and it totally changed our lives that day," said Rudel.

Wilson was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer, preventing her from visiting her daughter in Denver as often as she would before her diagnosis. 

“I do worry about airplanes just because of the fact that I’m on chemo every other Monday. So connecting is heartfelt,” said Wilson.

Right now more than half of American seniors are online.

Dr. Hannah Kreider with the Thrive Counseling Center of Colorado believes seniors taking the initiative to use technology are helping keep their families closer. 

"It’s learning, ok I’m going to learn to speak your language so we can spend time together and I think that does have a positive impact on that child’s connectedness to that older adult,” said Dr. Kreider.

Over a quarter of seniors use social media to stay connected, and these numbers are growing fast. Wilson said she understands why. 

“When they (grandchildren) do something special. When they’re learning to ride their bike and she’s taking a video while we’re doing it or I can snap a picture. It just makes the world so wonderful,” said Wilson.