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Brightwater's Guide to Video Chat for Seniors


Modern technology offers a variety of ways to communicate with family and friends. One that’s risen to the forefront of late is video chat. Whether a loved one lives far away, simply wants to say hello, or there is a medical reason why a senior and their loved one can't see each other in person, it’s a great way to keep in touch. Brightwater Senior Living is here to help guide seniors and their loved ones through the basics of video chatting. We’ll cover the various devices and applications (FaceTime, Slack, Zoom, Skype) and help determine which ones are best for specific situations.

What Device is Best?

When looking to help your loved one connect virtually, there are a few different devices to choose from. An accessory that most of us carry around is a smartphone. An iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phone are the most common and some of the easiest to use for making video calls. A laptop, tablet device, or personal computer with a camera feature also make great options for connecting virtually. As long as the device is connected to WiFi or cellular data, a great call can be as easy as opening an app or website link and dialing.

Video Platforms

Depending on which device your loved one has access to will determine the platforms they can use. Slack, Zoom, and Skype all work well on a smartphone, tablet, and computer. FaceTime is specifically designed for iPhone users. Each platform functions in a similar way and is quite simple to use.

If using a smartphone or a tablet, the easiest way to call through these free virtual meeting services is to download the associated app. For laptops or desktop computers, simply have your senior visit the website for either Slack, Zoom, or Skype and sign up for a free account using your or your loved one’s email address.

How to Send Call Invites

When using Slack or Skype, connecting with a phone call is as easy as opening a direct message to the individual your loved one is wanting to connect with and hitting the “call” button.

For FaceTime, your senior can go to the saved contact in the phone and tap the “FaceTime” button.

Through Zoom, there is a profile page where you can pre-schedule a call or even host a meeting immediately. Zoom will provide a website link your loved one can email or text to the person they want to talk to.

How to Have a Great Virtual Chat

Be sure that your loved one is in a quiet, well-lit space to attend their call. It’s best to connect the virtual meeting and then set the device down on a stable surface positioned where your senior and the phone screen are both easily visible. Ensure that the screen is facing the correct direction and that the volume is up loud enough for them to hear the conversation. When the call is over, your senior can hang up or end the meeting.

Visit the Brightwater Senior Living blog today for more helpful tips and information for staying connected to your loved one.