Alzheimer's and dementia caregiving takes patience and understanding. The illness is hard for the patient, but it's also hard for the caretaker. Consider practical tips that you should keep in mind when caring for the elderly with Alzheimer's.
Video Conferencing for Seniors: Benefits and 5 Easy-to-Use Apps
During the first half of 2020, 40 million users were video conferencing through Skype. And it is only safe to assume that those numbers have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a no-brainer since video conferencing makes it easy for us to get our message across. Simply put, it is better than SMS and instant messaging!
Mind you; even the elderlies benefit from video conferencing.
Benefits of Video Chatting for the Elderly
Seniors may be unfamiliar with video calling apps like Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet. Nonetheless, these apps make it easier for them to stay connected with their loved ones. More so, if they are staying in an in-house care facility.
Here, we have listed the top three benefits of video chatting for elderlies.
Keep in Touch With Loved Ones
Depending on the senior's condition, living in an in-house care facility may prevent him from coming into physical contact with family. However, we know how being with loved ones can help ease a patient's worries.
As such, video conferencing apps are an excellent way to connect with their loved ones, sans physical contact.
Sure, phone calls can help the elderlies keep in touch with their loved ones. But the visual component that comes with video chatting enhances the experience.
This is essential for patients who are experiencing hearing loss. That's because they can benefit from visual cues and sign language.
In addition, there are video conferencing apps that provide live captions. These apps use Artificial Intelligence to transcribe speech, allowing a patient to read through a conversation.
Combats Loneliness and Depression
Regardless of the app you use, it all boils down to easing an elderly's feeling of loneliness. After all, it is not easy to stay in an unfamiliar place.
Age and unfamiliarity make a senior more susceptible to social isolation. This is due to their limited mobility and underlying health conditions.
Luckily, video calls allow them to ease their loneliness. That's because it will enable them to keep in touch with their loved ones. Plus, they get to see with their eyes how the family is doing.
Mind you; studies show that patients who use video conferencing apps reduce their depression by 50%. Hence, it would be ideal to teach our senior loved ones how to video call.
Makes Them Feel That They Belong
As mentioned earlier, social isolation makes an elderly loved one more susceptible to loneliness and depression.
Luckily, video conferencing is not limited to having a face-to-face conversation with a loved one. Such apps allow you to have a group conversation, making you connected with your family even if they do not live in the same house.
In addition, video conferencing enables you to be part of family gatherings still while in an in-house care facility. This means that you can celebrate birthdays, Thanksgiving, holidays, and other special occasions.
Sure, video calls are pretty unconventional. It can be just the thing that a grandparent needs to watch their college grandchild take his diploma on stage.
5 Easy-to-Use Video Conferencing Platforms for Seniors
An elderly patient would want to be surrounded by his loved ones. However, his condition might prevent him from doing so.
As such, you should teach an elderly loved one about these five easy-to-use video conferencing platforms:
For us, it would be easy to Google, "how do I make a Skype video call." But seniors cannot be bothered with it. This is where Skype comes in.
It is an intuitive video conferencing app, making it ideal for seniors learning the intricacies of video chatting.
Here's how your elderly loved one can make a Skype video call:
- Download the app on a suitable device (i.e., iPad) and create an account.
- Once the senior's Skype app is all set, the next step is to add contacts.
- Next, let the patient do a test call with one of his family. Here's how to do that:
- Start the Skype app and click the "Phonebook" icon.
- Click on the image of the person that the patient wants to call.
- Click the gray phone button at the top-right corner of the screen to start a video call.
Skype Features You Need to Know
The steps above are enough for a senior to start a video call. However, knowing the following Skype features can come in handy.
- Mute Button. Click this button to mute yourself, often when you are not speaking.
- Turn Video On or Off. Click the camera button if you want to use audio (like a phone call) or return to video mode to see your loved ones.
- End a Skype Call. Click the red button to end the video call.
Zoom saw a surge in popularity since the pandemic. So much so that even podcasters use it if they want to interview an international guest.
Meanwhile, it has a crisper video and audio quality than Skype. That's why it is ideal for seniors with sensory impairment. The only caveat is that it is not as intuitive as Skype.
To use Zoom, follow these instructions:
- Download the Zoom app and install it on your device to create an account.
- This is where it can get complicated. To join a meeting (a.k.a. a video call), you can do any of the three:
- Get the link from an email invitation and click "Join Zoom Meeting."
- Go to the Zoom website and enter the 9-digit meeting ID, which you will find in your email.
- Use your phone to dial the number in your email invitation to join.
- Click the "Leave Meeting" once you are done with the video call.
If you have an Apple device (i.e., iPhone or an iPad), you can use the FaceTime app to connect with your loved one. All you need is Wi-Fi and ensure that the people on the other end are also using FaceTime.
- Turn on FaceTime. You can find it on Settings, and all you need is to set the toggle to green.
- You can make a FaceTime call in three ways:
- Start a regular phone call and tap the FaceTime (video camera icon) button.
- Go to the FaceTime app, search through your contacts, and tap their name to start a video call.
- Go to your Contacts and find the name of the person you want to call. Tap the FaceTime button to initiate a video call.
Facebook Messenger is pretty similar to FaceTime, wherein you can start a video call straight on the app. It also allows you to create a group chat with your family so you can message or call them in one go.
But what makes it better than FaceTime is that you can call your loved ones, regardless of the device they are using. What's important is that they have a Facebook Messenger account.
Here's how you can start making video calls on Facebook Messenger:
- Download and install the Facebook Messenger app (For Apple Devices. For Android Devices).
- Once installed, open the app and find the name of the person you want to call.
- Tap it and click the video camera icon on the top-right corner to start a video call.
Formerly known as Google Hangouts, Google Meet is a free app that allows up to 100 people to join a video conference. So, you can have a virtual family reunion if you want to!
There are two ways to use Google Meet:
Using a Web Browser
- Log in to your Google account.
- Click the video camera icon found on the left side panel to create a meeting and send online invites to your family.
- Wait for them to join and you are all set!
Using the Google Meet App
- Download the Google Meet app on your device.
- Sign in (or Sign up) using your Google account, and allow the app to access your device's microphone and camera.
- Tap "New Meeting" and then "Get a Meeting Link to Share." The latter will prompt you to copy and send the link invite to your contacts.
- Wait for them to join and you are all set!
While Google Meet is free, it also comes with premium features like 24/7 meetings, noise cancellation, and customer support. So, if you have the budget, you can use this app to monitor an elderly loved one all day.
Video conferencing mimics face-to-face conversion. Hence, it allows a senior to connect with his loved ones and ease his loneliness.
Plus, the visual cues and AI-powered live captions make it easier for them to communicate in case they are experiencing hearing loss.
So, if you have a family who lives in an in-house care facility, there are only three things that you should do:
- Hook them up with a compatible device.
- Download and install the right video conferencing app.
- Teach them how to use it.
That way, you can help them stay connected and feel less lonely.
In relation to this, consider looking for a senior care facility that provides video conferencing services. This ensures that they have the devices and apps you need to stay connected with a senior loved one.