Video chat options for staying connected are more than Zoom

Options for video chat can help you stay connected to seniors and others who’ve had to isolate.

Staying connected with older adult friends and relatives can be difficult, but don’t assume video chats are out of the question. For those who are hard of hearing, video can help them understand by reading your lips and expression.

“Studies have shown that isolation and the absence of positive social relationships increases health risks for all of us,” said John J. Wernert, M.D., MHA, psychiatrist and executive medical director of Norton Behavioral Medicine. “For the older adults who are at especially high risk of severe complications from COVID-19, it’s important to remember that social distancing is really physical distancing. Staying connected without contact is vital.”

If your friend or family member has a laptop, tablet or smartphone, you may want to arrange a contactless pickup to configure the device before returning it. Zoom, for instance, has become synonymous with video chatting during the pandemic, but it is far from the only option.

Rather than install new software and go through configurations, consider the video chat options that are available through a platform your friend or family member is already using.

Facebook Messenger, for instance, has Messenger Rooms that allow video calls. Create a room and invite people by emailing a link. They don’t even need to have a Facebook account. Rooms also can be started from Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp.

Skype has been around long enough that many may feel comfortable with it even if they haven’t used it in a while. Much like the Messenger Rooms, Skype’s Meet Now feature allows users to invite others to a group video call whether they are in Skype already or not.

Remember the year dad went to Europe and you set him up with WhatsApp to stay in touch without running up big cell phone bills? In addition to creating Messenger Rooms from inside WhatsApp, the platform offers its own video group calling for up to eight participants. The WhatsApp mobile phone app is available through the App Store or Google Play.

FaceTime has a group video chat option, but it’s not as easy as some of the others that allow you to send a link. If your friend or family member isn’t comfortable with more complicated instructions, set up the Group FaceTime call yourself and ring them in.

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.