Being away from family during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone, but it can hit seniors particularly hard. Being older means a higher risk of complications from the virus, which means seniors have to be extra careful. To stay in touch with family and loved ones during this difficult time, it’s important to turn to technology such as texting and video chatting. For information on a range of topics relevant to seniors, turn to Gracefully Greying for guidance.
How to stay in touch
For seniors who aren’t well-versed in new technology, it may seem hard to find ways to stay in touch other than picking up the telephone. Luckily, tech tools have become easier to use over time, making them more accessible for older individuals. Whether it’s texting on your mobile phone or video chatting from your tablet, you can get started without too much effort.
Mobile phones come in a myriad of shapes and sizes these days. Some are made specifically for seniors who want ease-of-use and simplicity. When you’re considering what phone to get, keep a few things in mind, such as screen size and accessibility. The best mobile phones for seniors will have the ability to enlarge the text and obvious navigation features.
Another useful piece of technology is a tablet. While phones are great for on-the-go, it’s nice to have a device with a larger screen for when you’re at home. Tablets can be very versatile, allowing you to do things such as send emails, play games, read books, and have video chats.
If you want more functions, a laptop or desktop computer will allow you to complete even more tasks. Be sure to upgrade your equipment if your current model isn’t running smoothly — check online for deals on new tablets, laptops, and desktops.
One item that will improve your video chats is a webcam. Look for webcams that have great resolution and that are responsive — your video chats will be more enjoyable and your family will love seeing you in high-definition. Webcams are fairly inexpensive and will often be far better than the built-in camera on your laptop or desktop computer.
If your video chats are in poor resolution or keep getting paused or broken up, it might be time to upgrade your internet connection. One of the better options is 5G, which is great for streaming live videos and chatting with loved ones.
Why it's important to stay connected
Staying in touch is about more than just hearing about what’s happening in your friends’ and families’ lives: it’s about feeling connected to the people who are important to you. It’s vital to pay attention to your mental health during the pandemic because isolation can lead to loneliness, stress, and anxiety.
Schedule regular check-ins with your family, and consider ways to connect that aren’t just through video chat. You can play games online with family and friends by using your mobile phone or tablet or stay in touch throughout the day by texting. Whatever your mode of connection, be sure it happens often to help maintain your mental health.
Getting through the pandemic is definitely easier when it’s possible to stay in touch with loved ones over video chat. Look for devices that are senior-friendly — mobile phones and tablets are both handy for communication and your own personal entertainment. If your internet speeds seem slow, consider boosting them to help improve your video chats with friends and family.
Are you looking for additional advice as you age? Explore the entire Gracefully Greying plattform for guidance on legal, medical, social, economic, psychological, and lifestyle issues facing seniors.
-Hazel Bridges, Founder of agingwellness.org