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Introducing Video Calling to Senior Citizens

Video calls combat loneliness and brings distant people closer together. However, Senior Citizens may need some help learning how to use modern methods of communication. With these simple steps, you can introduce your elderly loved one to the wonderful world of video chatting. 

Getting Started

It’s crucial to have all your research in place before teaching your loved one how to make a video call. Start by deciding which device your Senior would be using. If they already have a mobile device or computer, you’re halfway there. However, some Older Adults may not be up to date on modern technology. That’s okay—there are plenty of senior-friendly video chatting gadgets on the market today. Just make sure you provide written instructions for your Senior to follow when you’re not around.

Next, you will need to determine what platform they would use to make and receive calls. Ask your Senior who they would like to video chat with. Find out which apps their family and friends use. Sometimes the device dictates what apps you will use. For example, FaceTime is proprietary to Apple products, so it may not be the best choice if half the family uses Android. To avoid confusion, choose a straightforward app with limited features and pre-load the device with contact information. 

Initial Demonstration

Once you have the chosen device and app installed, it’s time to show your loved one how it works. Start with an initial demonstration. Plan a time to call someone your Senior loves talking to. Seeing a familiar face on the screen will demonstrate the benefit of video calling. 

Teaching Senior Citizens to Make Video Calls

Next, teach your Senior Citizen how to place a video call. Slowly walk through the process of making a call. Break it into simple steps in a way they understand. Take time to let your loved one practice each stage independently. 

Step One: Using the Device

Demonstrate how to turn the device on and off. Introduce any device-specific tools such as adjusting the volume, turning on the camera, etc. Allow time for your Senior to practice and get comfortable with the basics.

Step Two: Opening the App

Help them identify the icon associated with the chosen video calling service. Demonstrate how to tap or click to open the app. Let your Senior practice opening and closing out of the program a few times. 

Step Three: Accessing Contacts

Show how to find the person they want to call. Compare this to using an address book or phone book. For teaching purposes, select a pre-arranged calling partner who is available to pick up the phone. 

Step Four: Initiating, Ending and Answering a Call

Let your Senior press the green icon to initiate the call. Explain that this is just like making a voice call. The phone will ring, and if the other party is available, they can pick up. After a quick chat, demonstrate pressing the red icon to end the call. Then, have your partner call back so the Senior can practice answering a call. 

Nothing replaces spending time together in person. However, video chatting makes people miles apart feel closer together. Teaching your loved one how to make video calls goes a long way in combating loneliness and isolation.  

At Anita’s Angels, Inc. – We are Families Helping Families. Learn how we can help your loved one live independently for longer by calling 908-788-9390.

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