Best Communication Technology for Seniors During COVID–19: Software
Published on May 21, 2020
With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, Public Health has recommended that individuals over the age of 70 stay home, and practice social distancing whenever possible. Fortunately, with today’s technology, being socially distant doesn’t mean being socially disconnected! While you might not be to visit loved ones in person, there are many technologies, such as video calling and instant messaging, that can help you stay connected to loved ones. We’re providing some tips on choosing the right software to make online video calling with loved ones easier than ever.
When you’re done reading about the different software options and how to choose what’s right for you, be sure to check out our article on hardware for seniors here.
What is software?
The term software refers to any program that is installed on a piece of hardware. Most hardware comes with software already installed on it, namely an operating system – like Windows or Android. Another term you may have heard for software is “app”, short for “software application”. Below are some of user-friendly apps for seniors that you could use depending on what piece of hardware you have, or are going to purchase!
Since social distancing was implemented as part of COVID-19 prevention protocols, Zoom has become a very popular app amongst families looking to stay in touch with video calling online. The program is free (for calls 40 minutes or less), very user-friendly, and supports video calls for two people, or large groups, with many in-call options such as controlling whether your camera is on or not (handy for a bad hair day!), muting your microphone, sharing what else might be on your computer screen, and even changing backgrounds (if you feel like speaking from a virtual beach, or even outer space!) To learn more about Zoom, click here.
Caribu is a really great app for grandparents and great-grandparents, to interact with the beloved little ones in their lives. The app, available for smartphones and tablets, offers video calling, as well as children’s books, and fun activities to do with grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Best of all, Caribu is free. Learn more about it here.
Skype is one of the first software applications for video calling. The program allows users to speak with each other one-on-one, or in large groups from a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. Skype can also be used for instant-messaging, too. Like many of the software applications on this list, Skype is free – although there are paid options if you require additional features. You can learn more about Skype and download it here.
WhatsApp is another well-known communications software that allows for voicecalls, videocalls, instant messaging, and image sharing. WhatsApp uses the internet to perform these tasks, which makes it easy to communicate with people whether they are on a computer, or a smartphone. While WhatsApp is not supported on any tablet, the software is remains very popular and easy to use. Find out more about WhatsApp here.
Facebook’s Messenger app is especially handy – and only useable – if you have a Facebook account. The app is free and available for all devices. Messenger allows you to send messages, pictures, and videos, plus make video calls with individuals and small groups who are also on Facebook. Other than the app itself, you would also need to sign up for a Facebook account, which is also free. Learn more about Facebook here, and Facebook Messenger here.
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