We’re living in strange times at the moment. With the world on lockdown due to the concerns regarding the spread of Coronavirus, and everyone being asked to retreat to their homes, it’s time to start thinking about how to stay connected to those in care without being able to visit in person.
This can be a difficult time, particularly for those with loved-ones in care. It’s important that we all stick to the Government guidelines and stay at home, including not risking visiting family and friends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see them. So it’s time to get creative.
In the age of social distancing, we’re so lucky to have the technology we do today, and now’s the perfect time to see just how amazing it can be in helping you stay connected to those in care.
The Freemantle Trust is just one Care Organisation that is using technology to keep families united by rolling out Skype and video calling across all of their care homes. And while it may be a learning curve for some, the benefits of being able to offer this service to those in care and their families is huge.
From a cuppa and a mid-morning chat to family movie or games nights, you can adapt your plans to be done digitally, and get everyone involved so they don’t feel so lonely during this time of uncertainty.
What digital platforms can I use to stay connected to those in care?
The options available to us for VoIP (Voice over internet protocol) calls have evolved greatly over the years. What was once Skype’s USP has become the norm across many apps and services, who now offer video calling for free.
Video calling adds that personal touch, and during a time like this when we can’t see each other face to face, it’s the next best thing that can make all the difference to someone’s day, especially if they are in a care home and can’t have any visitors.
So we’ve rounded up some of the best apps and platforms you can use when you want some face time with your family.
This popular messaging app is probably used by many of you already which is what makes it so convenient. All you need to do is sign up with your phone number and it allows you to message, call and video call with a WiFi connection.
The great thing about WhatsApp is it offers end-to-end encryption so you have a degree of privacy, and you can use this platform either on your phone or on your web/desktop. Many families have WhatsApp groups set up to keep up to date with what everyone’s doing, and if you click the video button in the top right of a conversation, then you can easily switch on your camera to say hello too.
You can sign up to WhatsApp here.
If you have a Gmail account already, then you easily have access to Google Hangouts, which is a simple to use messaging/video calling app. While many people use it for work purposes, Google Hangouts offers good quality video calling that would work well for families to digitally get together.
What’s good about Google Hangouts is you can invite anyone onto the call and they don’t need to have a Gmail account to get access. Simply set up a video call and send them a link via email or text to invite them to join.
The Google Hangouts app can be downloaded for iOS or Android and can be used on desktop too. Get started with Hangouts, here.
Zoom is one of the latest video conferencing platforms that people are using. While it’s commonly used by businesses, it works well for virtual social gatherings too. With the recent social distancing rules in place, Zoom has become popular for hosting online gatherings including quizzes, game nights and even watching movies together.
It’s free to sign up and you can register with your email, your Google account or your Facebook account. Unlike some video call platforms, you can have up to 100 participants, so you’ll have no problem getting the whole extended family on the call if you wish!
To try out Zoom, you can register here.
While it’s no longer the newest, Skype is still a reliable video chat platform that will allow you to stay connected to your loved ones, no matter how far away they are. Skype is now available as an app on your phone as well as on your desktop, and it can even be connected to Amazon Alexa now.
Skype allows you to screen share, send photos and provides HD quality video calling. They have also added a feature to provide live subtitles on video calls. To download Skype, click here.
How Nourish are keeping families connected to those in care
At Nourish, we’re all about keeping people connected and providing transparency of care, which is why our electronic care plans also include something called The Family Portal. Here, those in care can grant their families access to their care record (limited access), so that they can have peace of mind that their loved one is being looked after and doing well.
They can see updates about their day and even photographs of them, which can be a lovely reassurance when you’re unable to visit in person. Our Family Portal is ever-evolving to produce more ways of allowing families to stay in touch with those in care, so watch this space!