If your senior loved one is a resident at an assisted living or retirement community that currently has temporary visiting restrictions due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be dealing with a lot of new challenges. The most difficult challenge might be finding new ways to stay connected when an in-person visit to your loved one’s nursing home or retirement home isn’t an option.
While nothing compares to spending time with mom or dad directly, thanks to technology and some creative thinking, there are many different ways to practice social distancing and still keep in touch. Below are several common and easy ways to stay close with your senior loved one when an in-person visit isn’t an option.
Video Calling Programs and Apps
While teleconferencing apps like Skype have risen in popularity, they have never been more essential or made it easier to connect with family and friends. Many apps let you check in with the click of a button on any smartphone, tablet or Wi-Fi enabled device. However, while a video call might be a great and easy option for you, mom and dad might have some questions about getting connected. In cases where your loved one isn’t able to call, reach out to the nursing home or retirement community staff members directly. They will more than likely be happy to set up a video call to help connect you with mom or dad. At Concordia, our activities departments at all of our locations are available to setup video calls for our residents and family members. There are many different apps that you can use to call, but here are some of the most common and easily accessible options.
FaceTime – FaceTime is a great option for Apple-to-Apple product video calls. If you have an IPhone or Apple device and your loved one or a staff member at the senior living community also has an Apple device, you can make a video or audio call any time with the push of a button.
WhatsApp – WhatsApp is easy to use and is available for download on any Android or IOS devices. To use, simply download from the app store and have mom or dad install on their device. Once installed, you can video chat, send messages or make audio calls.
Skype – Similar to WhatsApp, Skype is an easy to use video conferencing app available on any Android or IOS devices. Take a look at the infographic below for step-by-step instructions to install and use the program.
Google Hangouts – If you and your loved one are already set up with a Gmail/Google account, Google Hangouts might be the best option for video calling. To make a call, go to the Hangouts app extension on your computer or smart phone and type in the other person’s email address. Hit the new conversation button and from there, you’re able to video chat.
Related: Tips for Helping Seniors Stay Safe Online
Devices and Social Networks
If your senior loved one has an IPad, E-reader or other tech-friendly device, there are a ton of apps that do more than video call to help you stay connected. Social networks like ThirdAge and Rezoom are specifically designed with seniors in mind and are a great way to share photos, videos and updates. If your loved one isn’t inclined to use social media, consider getting them set up with an email address. Sending photos and videos via email or text is always a good alternative. If your loved one isn’t a fan of some of the newer devices, there are a ton of different options available. Devices like the GrandPad are tailored for seniors and are more accessible than a traditional tablet. It’s just a matter of choosing the right device to meet your loved ones needs.
Related: 5 Ways to Stay Connected with Your Long Distance Senior Loved One
To learn more about our senior care and health services at our locations in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and Tampa, Florida, visit the care levels and services page of our website or call us at: 724-352-1571. If your loved one is a resident at one of our facilities and you would like to set up a video call, please contact the facility directly. A list of our facilities and contact information can be found here.
There is always a LOT happening at Concordia! Would you like to stay up-to-date with our news and events? Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter here.