Stay Connected With Your Senior Loved One Through Technology

grandmother and granddaughter on mobile phone

While most Americans understand the importance of social distancing to control the spread of COVID-19, many have suffered from feelings of acute loneliness and social isolation as a result.

Studies indicate the cost to aging adults has been especially high, sometimes resulting in emotional and physical repercussions.

Text If you have mature loved ones, you might feel conflicted. As Johns Hopkins explains, the risks associated with COVID-19 increase with age, and the last thing you want is for your loved one to become ill. On the other hand, you don't want them to feel isolated or forgotten.

Finding Solutions

In searching for a solution that takes both of these concerns into account, it's helpful to remember that social distancing is not the same as social disconnection. Communicating regularly with seniors can provide the best of both worlds, and today's video chat technology makes it easier than ever.

Portland Senior Housing wants both you and the seniors in your life to stay healthy and happy. There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure your seniors have the equipment and knowledge they need to stay connected.

Choosing the Right Equipment

Many mature Americans already own smartphones that are capable of handling video calls. While the small screen is not ideal, working with a device that they already use can increase their level of comfort. Similarly, if your loved ones already feel at ease with an existing computer, that can be a great option as well.

If your loved ones have less experience with technology and feel intimidated by tackling a new skill, a full-size iPad or Android tablet might work well. Graying With Grace notes tablets have large screens for a better video experience while still offering portability similar to cell phones.

There are also very basic tablet options that cater to those with less experience. For example, the Grandpad is very simple and straightforward and comes preloaded and ready to connect.

Finding the Perfect App

Once your loved ones have the right equipment, you will need to choose a video platform to use. Some popular options include:

  • Zoom
  • FaceTime
  • Skype
  • Facebook
  • Messenger

If everyone involved is an Apple user, FaceTime might be your best option for a group call. The app is already installed on iPhones and iPads, and the mechanics feel similar to making and receiving phone calls.

Teaching the Necessary Skills

Set your seniors up for success by making the process as stress-free as possible. Start by sending them a device with a video app already installed, and be sure to include written step-by-step instructions. You or your children can explain the steps over the phone, and if your seniors are in a senior care facility, there is likely someone there who would be happy to help as well.

It's also a good idea to teach your seniors about online safety. Help protect their private information and prevent identity theft by making sure cybersecurity software is installed on any device your loved ones plan to utilize. Also, teach them how to make and use strong passwords. Encourage them to include a range of characters and keep jot down all log-in information in a physical notebook that's easy to access.

Maintaining the Connection

Try to schedule chat sessions on a regular basis. Knowing that there will be a virtual visit every Friday at 8 pm, for example, will help your loved ones feel less alone and more connected.

Also, the more they use the new video technology, the more quickly they will feel comfortable, so be consistent and avoid large gaps in time between calls. It's also a great idea to use video technology to include older loved ones at family celebrations so that they can commemorate the important milestones with you.

While social distancing is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect your loved ones, complete social isolation needs to be avoided. Video technology can help your seniors feel connected while maintaining a safe distance.

About the author, Libby Howell.

"Libby works continuously to uphold her title of “World’s Best Grandparent,” and spends quality time with each of her seven grandchildren in order to do so. She’s an experienced grandparent, and she wants to share her knowledge with others through."

You can find more great articles by Libby at her website http://grandparent.info/

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A far better life!

Mark h. 7.2020

Hi Jenn,

Talk about different! I'm living an almost opposite life now that mom's in her new place. As in a far better life. Thanks for all your help.  - Mark H. 7/2020 

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