Staying Connected Remotely for Older Adults | Homestead Village
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Staying Connected Remotely – tips and tricks to try!

senior using tablet

It is well known that we embrace the philosophy of THRIVE WHERE YOU ARE® here at Homestead Village. Unfortunately —thanks to stay-at-home orders from our government officials in response to the ongoing COVID-19 situation – that “where you are” is currently in your dwelling… all day, every day.

It’s also no secret that many of us are feeling a bit challenged in staying connected to our friends, family, and other loved ones who don’t happen to share the same house, apartment, or other living space with us.

Luckily, though, we now live in an age when there are increasingly more ways to keep in touch with each other! Today’s blog post gives you some ideas on new tools to discover while you’re responsibly social distancing.

Technology Makes it Easy—and Fun—to Stay Connected While Staying Home

As we all know, Regular social interaction is a vital component of health and wellness. Creating opportunities for our Residents to connect with one another and the broader community has long been a cornerstone of our Homestead Village Life Enrichment programming.

Now, we’ve had to take our valued social time and make it “virtual,” which has proved to be challenging, though also a little bit fun as we all learn new things!

For instance, video chatting—have you tried it yet? It may seem a bit too “techy” from the outside, but it’s actually quite easy to get the hang of! And it offers one of the best ways to stay connected.

Give Video Chatting a Try

Once upon a time, “video phones” seemed like something from fictional stories about the distant future. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re living that future now!

The smartphones in our pockets are capable of making video calls through a variety of easy-to-use applications. And their voice communications capabilities are also very advanced, too.

Don’t have a smartphone? No problem! You can also connect with a number of these same apps (plus many more) from your computer or tablet device right from home.

Discover These Top 4 Apps to Get Connected with Video Chatting

1.  Skype

What began as an internet instant messaging and voice calling app is now also a full-featured video calling solution. Made by Microsoft, many people also use Skype to hold work meetings and professional conversations because it is effortless to add multiple people to a call.

This great tutorial video from our friends at TechBoomers gives you what you need to know to get started with Skype.

2.  FaceTime

On Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, and newer Mac computers, FaceTime is the name of the video chat capability built right into the operating system. (Note that FaceTime is not associated with Facebook.)

Instructions on how to get started with FaceTime are here on Apple’s website.

The biggest drawback with FaceTime is that you need to know that the person or people you want to video chat with also have Apple devices. If your friend or family member has another brand of phone, tablet, or computer, you will need to connect through a different app for video chats.

3.  Facebook Messenger

More people are on Facebook than ever before, and the popular social media network includes access to its free Messenger app, which now supports video chatting in addition to text-based instant messaging.

Depending on how you access Facebook—on your computer through a web browser or on a mobile device like your smartphone or iPad—access to Messenger will look a little different. On mobile, it is a separate app, but on the computer, it is integrated right into Facebook’s website.

Learn more about getting started with Facebook Messenger now, even if you do not currently have a Facebook account.

4.  Zoom

Before the coronavirus outbreak, Zoom was best known among business users as an easy—and often free—way to hold video conference calls. The reason people like the app is because it’s not tied to a major software developer like Microsoft or Apple, and it does not rely on being associated with a social networking platform like Facebook.

Now Zoom’s popularity has exploded, and many people are using it for personal purposes—to stay connected to family members with virtual family dinners or even remote game nights.

Zoom has lots of video tutorials and comprehensive instructions on its website to help you learn how to get set up and start connecting with your loved ones in minutes.

At Homestead Village, Get to Know Touchtown

In the spring of 2020, Homestead Village introduced Touchtown, a new campus communication solution that will help residents across our 90 acre campus stay connected.

Touchtown features several components, but during social distancing, the most exciting is our community app. This app features secure, customized information such as menus, calendars, direct access to create work orders for maintenance, and a quick and centralized location to access up to date information.  The app is accessible via computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Don’t Forget About “Old School” Ways to Stay Connected, Too!

While the high tech communication tools we now have are fantastic, there is no reason you have to abandon your favorite “tried and true” ways of keeping in touch!

Rediscover the Fun of Voice Phone Calls

It’s likely that your friends and family members have time to chat on the telephone now more than any time since “the good old days.” We all spend so much time text messaging and posting on social media these days that many of us have forgotten how fun simply chatting on the phone can be.

You may find that you’ll have to pre-arrange a call via text messaging, as is the etiquette now, but your loved ones will be excited to hear your voice!

Start an Email Chain with Family Members

Sometimes it seems like email is just ads and spam, but as with rediscovering the fun of traditional phone calling, now is the perfect time to add all of your friends or family to a message and send an update on what’s new with you. As people hit “Reply All,” your inbox will quickly become much more friendly and interesting.

Send Cards and Letters

Get ready to impress your younger family members with your flawless cursive writing skills when you send them a handwritten letter or greeting card! Of course, you have to have stamps on hand to post your “snail mail,” but did you know that the US Postal Service will deliver stamps to your mailbox?

If you don’t already have a USPS.com account, visit the website and sign up. You can then shop for not only collectible stamps but regular postage, too. Pay online, and your mail carrier will deliver your stamps within a few days when they deliver your mail!

Don’t have any cards or envelopes at home, either? You can also order those from the Postal Service.

Homestead Village Cares

We sincerely hope you are staying happy and healthy during this difficult time, whether you are one of our treasured Homestead Village Residents or part of our larger online community of friends and neighbors.

If you have questions, please give us a call or contact us through HomesteadVillage.org.

 

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