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How to stay connected with others via video calls

Humans are social beings. We need to stay connected in order to be happy, and that’s particularly true for seniors. Elderly people are usually the first ones to experience the negative effects of social isolation, especially with the past year’s restrictions due to COVID-19. Thankfully, video calls have it made it much easier for people to stay in touch.

From Facetime to WhatsApp, there’s a plethora of technologies available to stay connected with those you love. However, not all platforms are as intuitive for less tech savvy seniors, but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to use!

So, whether you want to teach your loved one how to video call or want to learn yourself, these tips will help you to get there.

How to set up for video calls

The first step to staying connected with video calls is to make sure you have all the equipment ready. The great news is that most laptops, tablets and smartphones already come with built-in cameras and speakers so they’re ready-to-use. Purchasing a pair of headphones could also be worth the investment so that it’s easier to hear when people speak.

If you don’t have a device and need to buy one, it’s important to consider the screen size before making the decision. For example, tablets are a great option as they have a bigger screen than a smartphone, and they’re easier to carry around than a laptop.

Choosing the right app

As already mentioned, there are a few video-call apps out there that you can use. Finding the one that works for you is the most important thing. We have highlighted below some of the most friendly-to-use and popular apps that you can utilise, as well as steps to follow to use them. If you need extra help, there are also many resources out there that teach you how to stay connected with video calls.

FaceTime

If you have an iPhone or iPad, Facetime will make the most sense to use as it is already built-in to your device. However, it’s important to remember that Facetime will only let you connect with other Apple users which will limit the amount of people you can communicate with. Before you decide to use FaceTime, you should ask your family members and friends that you want to video call whether they have an Apple device.

To use FaceTime, follow these steps:

Step 1: Add someone’s phone number to your contact list

Step 2: Tap on the FaceTime icon, and click on the ‘+’ icon in the top right corner

Step 3: Type in the name of the person you want to call

Step 4: Click on the green button that says ‘Video’

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a free application that lets you chat with anyone in the world. If you don’t have an Apple device, WhatsApp is a great option. The app will also syncs your phone contacts, which means that there will be less set up time required.

To use WhatsApp, follow these steps:

Step 1: Download the application from your app store. If you don’t feel confident to do this, ask a carer, friend or family member

Step 2: Click on ‘Calls’ at the bottom of your screen

Step 3: Search the name of the person

Step 4: Tap on the video button to start a call

Skype

Whilst FaceTime and WhatsApp are more suitable for mobile devices, Skype is a great tool to use on your computer or tablet. Setting it up is very similar to WhatsApp, so if you already know how to use that application, then Skype should be a breeze!

To use Skype, follow these steps:

Step 1: Download Skype for Mac or Windows

Step 2: Create your username

Step 3: Set up your contact list by asking your friends and family for their username

Step 4: Select the contact you want to call, and click on the video button

If you find yourself getting frustrated while learning how to video call, it’s completely okay! Remember to stay patient and to always reach out for help whenever you need. Staying connected with video calls and being able to see your loved ones will definitely be worth the effort.

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