Authored by: Seamus Dunne, Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels
If there’s one thing lockdown taught us, it’s that you can keep loved ones apart for long. Skype, Teams and Zoom enabled us to spend time quality together while being apart. You might think that Facetime and Google Hangout is just for youngsters, but the over 65s are embracing technology at a rapid rate. In fact, video calling is proving to be a very useful tool for the elderly.
The top five benefits to getting seniors online include:
1. Lowering Depression and Loneliness
Studies have revealed that seniors feel less lonely when they connect with people using online video chats. Older folks who talk regularly over Skype or Facetime are less likely to feel depressed too. Although family and friends aren’t there in person, the emotional effect is similar. Seeing the faces of children, grandchildren and old friends is uplifting and stops the feeling of isolation.
2. Getting Rid of Guilt
Feeling guilty about not staying in touch is a heavy burden to carry. Seniors are desperate to speak with their families but feel guilty about asking them to take a trip over. Busy family members want to keep in touch but struggle to find the time and then feel bad that they haven’t visited. Video calls can be done anytime, anyplace which makes life so much easier for everyone. A quick Facetime call can be done while you wait for the kids, while you load the dishwasher or when you’re on your lunch break. A few minutes is all it takes, and everyone feels better for it.
Keeping close to families or friends that move a long distance away can be tricky if you only rely on face-to-face visits. Feelings of isolation can be avoided with a weekly video call. It’s amazing how the miles melt away if you can share a joke and see each other laugh.
3. Sharing Everyday Life
One of the problems with visiting an elderly person is that they don’t share your everyday life. You can tell them about your week, and even show them photographs, but it’s not the same as being there. However, video calling can change all that. With a laptop or tablet set up at the kitchen table, grandparents can join in with children’s parties or enjoy the conversation at family mealtimes. Recipes or ideas can be shared during dinner preparation, and seniors can even help with homework. Without leaving home, a grandparent can feel included in everything and it just takes a moment to set up.
Of course, video calls can keep friends who are just around the corner connected too. Seniors who love the same soap or TV show can watch together from separate living rooms. Two or more pals logging in at the same time share each other’s reactions to the latest developments. Keeping up with all the local gossip and feeling part of the local neighborhood, it’s all easy online.
4. Experiencing Different Places
Imagine sharing the sights you see when you visit a new place. A screen can act like a window and allow seniors who are not mobile to see the world by video connection. From the comfort of home, an elderly loved one can see the kids’ favorite animal at the zoo, the pool at your hotel or sunset over the beach. Even looking at the local park and how it has changed is interesting for seniors who don’t get outside.
5. Joining Groups
These days there are online groups for just about everything. Some groups have virtual meetings where everyone connects via video apps. It could be a local group, a religious gathering, or a special interest that a senior might enjoy – the choices are endless. Online means that anyone can attend no matter how near or far they live. With a common interest, it’s easy to chat and strike up friendships. Joining a group might seem unthinkable for those who can’t get out, but when modern technology is embraced and explored, it’s all possible.
If you have a senior in your life that could benefit from video calling, don’t put off getting them online. People can learn to use new technology; they just need a bit of guidance. There are a bunch of different devices that make it easy, such as Facebook Portal or Amazon Echo. If hearing is a problem, maybe earphones with a microphone will help the conversation flow. Whatever the challenges, there’s a technology solution out there to make life a little better.
Author Bio: This article was written by Seamus Dunne of Conversation Piece. Conversation Piece is a leading player in telecommunications, providing Unified Communications systems nationwide to large and small-scale businesses.