Many people don’t take loneliness as seriously as they should. While it’s common knowledge that loneliness impacts seniors’ mental health tremendously, most people don’t realize that loneliness significantly increases the risk of premature death as much as smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Unfortunately, visiting your loved ones isn’t always possible due to distance, illness, or time, among other reasons. That’s why you should take advantage of technology. While a quick phone call to check up on your loved one may feel like enough, it’s far better to teach them how to use video calling. Particularly now with the coronavirus pandemic, teaching seniors how to make and join online calls can be the only way for them to overcome loneliness.
Video Calling Apps vs Video Conferencing Software
Before you even start thinking about which software to get and what device to buy, it’s important to understand the difference between video calling apps and video conferencing software. The former is usually used for one-on-one video calls and there are plenty of free mobile apps for this, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. On the other hand, video conferencing software is built with company meetings in mind and allows for group calls with multiple participants. Depending on the senior’s needs, you might want to go with one or the other. For instance, if you have online family gatherings then video conferencing software is the better option.
Best Video Call Software for Seniors
When seniors have sufficient technological knowledge to use a computer, tablet, or smartphone, there are various easy-to-use web conferencing apps you can get.
Zoom is one of the most user-friendly web conferencing programs on the market. Meetings can be started with just one click, and it isn’t necessary to have an account to join other peoples’ gatherings. There’s also a free subscription that allows for meetings of up to 100 people, so you’ll be able to gather all your family in just one video call.
While Skype is a bit harder to work with due to its messaging feature, it’s the perfect solution for seniors who are hard of hearing as the software allows them to turn on live subtitles. Skype allows for meetings with up to 50 participants and you can use it for free.
If the senior in question is an Apple user, then FaceTime is the logical option as the video call app works with all Apple products seamlessly. Video calls can be started on an iPhone the same way as a regular phone call. Asking Siri to FaceTime someone is also an option, which allows users to start a video call without even touching the phone. On top of that, FaceTime allows for 32 participants to meet up simultaneously.
Best Video Call Devices for Seniors
Let’s suppose that your loved one isn’t that well-versed in technology. In that case, there are several devices created specifically for seniors that allow them to video call friends and family members. If the senior still doesn’t own any technological devices and you want to get them one, these are the perfect solutions.
GrandPad is a senior tablet that comes with all the necessary applications to stay in touch via audio or video, and then some. Seniors can stream their favorite radio stations, safely browse the internet, and play over 15 stimulating games developed specifically for older adults. Prices start at $49 per month with an annual billing cycle, and the company also provides free setup and shipping.
From Australia, the Konnekt Videophone is a more straightforward device that allows seniors to make video calls by selecting from preconfigured contacts. The touchscreen buttons are large too – perfect for people with bad eyesight. Not only that, but the device also rings quite loudly when a call is coming, so hard-of-hearing seniors can easily understand what is happening and pick up on time. It costs $65 per month and you can try everything out for 30 days with no strings attached.
ViewClix is an original device where family members can share pictures with their loved ones. The ViewClix Smart Frame is always connected and presents photos on a carousel-like display at all times. It even downloads new ones automatically without users having to do anything. On top of that, family and friends can use ViewClix’s free mobile apps to make video calls. There are two sizes available – 10.1 inches and 15.6 inches – costing $199 and $299, respectively. The company also provides a 30-day risk-free guarantee and a one-year warranty.
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