Social distancing is hard on everyone, especially families who can’t get together in person. At NewAldaya Lifescapes, our assisted living center has prioritized virtual visits for our residents, ensuring that they have the right technology and support to get the most out of virtual family time. If anything good has come out of the COVID-19 experience, it’s the appearance of new virtual communication tools usable by everyone.
Tips for Making the Most of Virtual Visits
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Adapting to virtual visits can pose difficulties for people of all ages. And for seniors who weren’t raised in the “computer age”, challenges such as computer anxiety are very real barriers to making the most of a virtual visit. If you’re a senior who’s struggling to wrap your head around the process or the technology, don’t be afraid to ask for help. For example, there are plenty of books and websites that do an excellent job of teaching basic computer skills. Or ask a friend or relative to assist you. You’ll probably be surprised by how many other NewAldaya Lifescapes residents are using virtual visits.
Use the Platform You’re Most Comfortable With
Tools like FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, and Zoom allow families to communicate via video calls, and all of them are free to download. FaceTime video calling comes standard with iPhones, while Skype and Zoom offer free video conferencing on a variety of devices. WhatsApp is a free video calling and messaging app that works on any phone. Of course, with so many options it can be a little bit overwhelming to choose the right one. Our advice is that the best apps and platforms are the ones that you find most accessible and easiest to use. If you already have a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a built-in video chat platform, that could well be the easiest option. Or maybe you’re already familiar with using a particular app for virtual gaming, clubs, etc. If you’re starting from a completely clean slate, approach a relative, a friend, or a team member at our senior living community for advice.
The Right Device Makes a Big Difference
There are several smart devices designed specifically for seniors. For example, the GrandPad is a simplified tablet with large text and buttons, which also includes special security features to prevent spammers from causing trouble. In terms of phones, Jitterbug Flip and Smart2 are excellent senior-specific options–both emphasizing simplicity and visibility. Ultimately, the right device depends on your preferences and abilities. When you settle on a tablet or phone, we recommend having it pre-loaded with all the apps you’re planning to use and asking someone to help you set up your accounts if you need a hand. As with anything of a tech nature, there are lots of online resources you can tap into for guidance.
Get in Touch Today
In difficult times, it’s especially important to have regular communication with loved ones. And whether you’re meeting virtually or in person at our Cedar Falls independent living community, NewAldaya Lifescapes is here to help those visits happen as often as you’d like.