In today’s world, online video calls have steadily become a normal part of our daily communication. Apps such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype and Zoom have all normalized the concept of communicating with friends, family members and colleagues via video conferencing technology. Remember when video calls seemed futuristic? It’s incredible how far we’ve come!
COVID-19 has unfortunately created a physical rift between many of us and our loved ones. As many of us have been forced to adjust to remote work and self-isolation, the need for accessible technology has increased in tenfold. This also means that many of us have become reliant on video conferencing technology for work, school and socialization during this time.
Given that the virus has posed a risk far higher to seniors, social distancing has made them far more susceptible to loneliness, isolation and barred communication. For seniors, video chat may not be a concept they are familiar with to communicate with their peers. However, thanks to modern-day applications, the benefits of video chat have never been greater or more accessible.
Top three benefits of video chatting for seniors
Keeping in touch with distant loved ones
Since physical distancing has prevented seniors from having in-person visits with their loved ones, video chatting offers the next best alternative for allowing seniors to see, hear and converse with family members, friends and contacts.
Even without accounting for circumstances caused by COVID-19, video chatting offers seniors the opportunity to communicate with their loved ones if they are unable to leave their home. Seniors no longer have to worry about not getting to see what a friend or relative looks like if there is a disability, physical limitation or other reason that prevents them from arranging an in-person visit.
The opportunity is even available to communicate with friends, relatives or children who might live out of town or even out of country. This means virtual visits with loved ones across the globe can still be had, so long as both parties have an Internet connection and a compatible device.
For those wondering about the best video chat for family, seniors can communicate with a group of contacts thanks to applications that allow for multiple parties to join the same conference call (such as Zoom and Hangouts Meet by Google).
Improved communication for those with hearing impairments
While phone calls are always a great way for seniors to keep in touch with their contacts, video chatting adds a visual component that makes communication much easier — especially for those who might have sensory impairments such as hearing loss or deafness. For those who benefit from sign language or other visual cues, video chatting makes this possible from afar.
Some of the best video chat apps for seniors include Skype, Hangouts Meet by Google and Microsoft Teams — all of which not only provide high-quality video performance, but also built-in live captions that use AI to transcribe speech.
Combats loneliness and depression
Older people aren’t just more susceptible to the risks associated with COVID-19 — they’re also at an increased risk for loneliness. Older age can make many seniors more vulnerable to social isolation, such as underlying health conditions or disabilities that may limit their mobility, the death of a spouse or partner or general separation from friends and family members.
Luckily, video chatting is a great way for seniors to stay connected and keep their mental and emotional health in check during this difficult time. Compared to phone calls, video chat is a great way to provide a deeper connection.
In fact, researchers have found that seniors who used video chat applications have shown half the signs of depressive symptoms, proving that there is a definite link between virtual face-to-face communication and improved mental health in seniors.
In all, video chatting is proven to have a wide range of benefits for seniors — such as mimicking the effects of face-to-face contact and reducing symptoms of isolation, depression and decreased mental wellness. If you or someone you know is connected to a senior in need of increased social interaction during COVID-19, getting them hooked up with a compatible device and the right video conferencing application is a great way to help them stay connected with their loved ones.
Tea & Toast has even started offering video touring for seniors looking to make a move to retirement living. During this time, with COVID-19 precautions heightened, retirement homes are not allowing in-person touring. This makes a live video tour the next best thing.