The novel coronavirus has kept a lot of us at home in order to preserve the safety of others. Social distancing is a necessary approach to flattening the curve of its spread, but many of us are feeling the effects of not seeing loved ones for some time. Thankfully, in this age of technology and the internet, there are solutions that allow seniors to continue connecting with friends and family.
The complexity of social media and ever-changing gadgets can seem intimidating to seniors who are not familiar with them. A simple photo or text message, phone call, or even a handwritten card will mean the world to them, but seeing a loved one’s face in real-time is something worth more. We will cover an array of options that make this possible but are more user-friendly.
Free Services for Seniors to Easily Connect Virtually
For anyone who uses Gmail, Google Hangouts is a great tool that can use an already existing account. It can be downloaded as an app to a smartphone, tablet, or inputted directly into the web browser as an extension. The controls within the call are relatively easy to navigate.
If a senior and a loved one are both using an iPhone or iPad, the utility of Facetime is a no brainer. Being mainly mobile-based, it will bring a smaller screen experience, but will still show every face on the call. The ease of not having to install a separate program may be ideal. However, if you are not an Apple user calling a fellow user, it won’t be the best option.
Zoom has been notoriously exclusive for business and web conferencing, but lately has picked up in casual usage. Many schools are shifting to online lectures through Zoom, asthey have the capacity to include up to 100 viewers. Unless you want to try the undertaking of hosting a virtual family reunion, you most likely will not find that ability necessary.
But overall, Zoom has great camera clarity and has the option of adding fun backgrounds to the user’s screen.
A successful and well-known platform for casual video calls, Skype also allows the function of being operated via smartphone or desktop. Accounts can be made for free and are easy to work with.
Facebook Messenger Video Call
Millions of people are on Facebook, and through Facebook Messenger, the capability to conduct a video call is there. Again, this is another platform that is easy to deploy on either desktop, smartphone, or tablet. The only requirements here are that the user has a Facebook account and be Facebook friends with the person they are trying to call.
Fun and Games for Seniors with Social Distancing
There are ways to also host game nights, watch parties, and other fun activities through a video call as well. Simply being able to see the smile grow on a loved one’s face is enough, but being able to create memories and laughs together is another great benefit to come from the ability to host a video call.
By printing out bingo sheets, and using an online bingo caller, you can host a virtual bingo night! Houseparty is another fun platform that includes a multitude of games, such as their own version of Pictionary.
Also, the platform Netflix Party offers the ability to sync Netflix accounts to view a movie or show from screens in different homes at the same time. Pop a bag of popcorn and easily host a movie night with friends and family from different couches! The only catch with Netflix Party is that it is only accessible through a Google Chrome browser extension.
Social distancing is in place to keep us safe, but social connecting is what keeps us sane. Some of us are getting creative by making new games that work digitally and finding enjoyment in the simple things. No matter what, as long as we continue to do what we can to preserve communication, we can weather the coronavirus and come out perhaps even closer to our loved ones.
At The Kensington Sierra Madre, we are observing the CDC guidelines of social distancing and doing everything we can to keep our residents, their loved ones, and staff safe. Although we are closed to visitors, for the time being, our beautiful community is open for virtual tours, and our team is a phone call away to answer any questions about how we continue to provide exceptional senior living.