Over the past few months, our lives have changed in drastic ways. Worldwide physical distancing and self-isolation measures mean that, for most us, technology has become our social lifeline. For older people, maintaining a sense of connection to others is incredibly important and, luckily, modern devices can help.
From family chats to exercise classes, video apps are giving us some sense of normality during these difficult times. Humans are social creatures by nature and this sense of connection helps us to thrive. But some older people struggle to use technology and isolation can take a serious toll on their health over time. So, whether your loved one is living alone or in a care home, helping them to stay in touch might be the best gift of all.
Teaching Your Elderly Loved Ones How to Make a Video Call
Helping an older relative or friend to make video calls is a wonderful thing to do. By encouraging older people to use apps like Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom and Facebook Messenger, you’ll be helping them to counteract the harmful effects of isolation.
The benefits of video chats
While voice calls are still important, video calls allow you to connect with your loved one on a deeper level. Video gives you the chance to see the person you’re talking to, share what you’ve been working on and even take a tour of your relative’s home. As well as being a great way to chat, once someone learns to use video calls, they can then use it in their daily lives. Book clubs, yoga classes and exercise sessions are all taking place online these days.
How can I help someone to make video calls?
When showing an older person how to make video calls, especially if you’re doing it remotely, patience is key. Take them through each step slowly and make sure they understand before moving to the next step.
Remember that older people may find it more difficult to understand “tech language”, so explain everything in simple terms and direct them to the right part of the screen. And if you find yourself getting frustrated, take a break and breathe. You can always come back to it later.
Easy Apps for Video Chats
If your family member has a tablet or smartphone, you can help them to get set up with simple video chat apps. To get you started we’ve rounded up some of the most popular apps available right now:
To use the FaceTime app, you need to have an Apple (iOS) device, like an iPhone or an iPad. The app is pre-built into Apple devices, making it quick and easy to get started. Rather than downloading FaceTime, you can simply sign in with your Apple ID.
To make a call with this app, you need to have the phone number of the person you want to contact. If you already have the details saved, search for the person’s name in your contact list and hit the video icon next to their name. The main drawback with FaceTime is that it only works with other Apple devices. Explain to your loved one that they’ll only be able to chat to people who also have iPhones or iPads.
Skype is a universal call, messaging and video app that’s straightforward to use. To get started, download Skype to your phone or tablet and create an account. Then, share your username with the person you’d like to Skype call. The service is free and you can use it to make or receive a video call to or from people around the world – making it a great option for older people.
The most popular messaging app available today is WhatsApp, and it is a fantastic way for older people to stay connected. It’s also easy to use and has an option for free video calling.
When you first download the app to your mobile phone, it’ll ask for permission to access your contacts. As soon as you allow this, the app will then sync to your contact list. This means that all you have to do is look through your existing contact list and select someone’s name. You’ll then see an option to video call them via WhatsApp. You can also use GB WhatsApp Download for instant messaging, or to send someone a voice message – so it’s a great all-rounder.
Zoom’s soaring popularity is probably related to the fact that it’s ideal for group chats and group video calling. If you’re planning a special birthday call or a family lunch call, this is a great platform to introduce to your loved one. It’s also easy to use – you can set up a free Zoom account simply by using your email address and password. Then, when someone sets up a Zoom call, you can just ask them for the link or accept their Google Calendar invitation to join the call.
Social interaction is more important now than ever before, particularly for older people who are under strict isolation measures. Loneliness and lack of social contact have been linked to cognitive issues, depression and even heart disease. But, fortunately, there are ways we can counteract these problems and video chatting is one of them. If you have an older loved one in your life, take the time to help them stay connected.