Here's how to stay in touch with older relatives during the coronavirus outbreak

Social distancing and even self-isolation, are terms one everyone's lips at the moment. You might be isolating or being more wary about visiting the pub, park, or cinema, but keeping in contact with people is still extremely important.

However, some people don't have access to social media, or have the tech allowing them to take part in a video call. Mostly, those people are the elderly - the ones who need us more than ever before.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Being told to stay at home for several days or weeks is going to make life difficult for the UK's elderly population, but there are ways you can contact them to bring a spark into their day.

Complicated apps and gadgets

If your elderly loved ones have access to the internet, then using one of many video platforms like Skype, is possible. But you need to find one that is user-friendly.

Kate Bevan, editor of computing at Which?, the consumer magazine, said, "You might want to consider getting a specialised device to make video calls to your loved ones.

"Once they're set up, they're very simple to use but you do have to dig through settings in their apps to connect them and that's not always as straightforward as it might be.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Give yourself plenty of time to familiarise yourself with doing that so that you can help your relative through the process."

Make things as user-friendly as possible

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK's charity director, said, "Something integrated like a video call app on a smartphone, tablet or a laptop with a built-in camera, for example will often be more straightforward. Older people may also prefer physical interfaces like a mouse rather than a touchscreen or trackpad."

Or, you can opt for all-in-one devices. Amazon, Google, and Facebook all have smart devices with screens for video calls, but these are costly.

Mrs Bevan said, "If your family member has a tablet or smartphone, you can also help them get set up with apps such as Skype, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, all of which do video calls. Apple users can also use FaceTime."