The Covid-19 pandemic is a distressing time for us all, but it is affecting older people more than most. On 15 March, the Health Secretary asked all UK residents over the age of 70 to self-isolate for an extended period of time. Now, almost two months later, the whole country is adapting to a very strange new way of life. We are all doing everything we can to protect our physical health, but is mental health being forgotten? Social interaction is surely essential to good mental health, but, given the danger Covid-19 poses to older people in particular, social visits will not be possible for some time. As a result, we’re turning to technology to keep us connected. Today’s article is a guide to keeping in touch during lockdown.
Just a few months ago, the average Brit had likely never heard of Zoom. Now, nearly 300 million people use it every day. With a free Zoom account, you can make video calls with up to 100 participants. Zoom is very simple to use. To make your first call, all you need is an internet connection and a device with a webcam. Nearly all computers these days have built-in webcams, but you can buy one fairly cheaply if you don’t have one already. Alternatively, you can use Zoom on your smartphone with the free app.
For security reasons, each Zoom call (or ‘meeting’) is password protected. You can share this password to your friends and family privately via email or text. It’s important not to post these links or passwords anywhere public, for example on your Facebook page, because so-called ‘Zoom-bombers’ have taken to gatecrashing private meetings.
Skype is one of the more established platforms for video-calls. Similarly to Zoom, Skype allows you to make free video-calls online using a webcam. Before your first call, you will need to sign up for an account using your email address. You can then make video calls with up to 25 people at once. However, in recent years, Skype’s popularity seems to have declined. With more and more people using smartphones which have built-in software for video-calls, perhaps Skype will soon be a thing of the past.
Unlike Skype, FaceTime’s popularity shows no signs of decreasing. This the video-chatting software installed on every Apple iPhone, iPad, and computer. Apple have sold more than 50 million iPhones in the UK alone since 2011. Therefore, FaceTime is likely a convenient way of keeping in touch during lockdown for most people. What’s more, smartphone use among older people is steadily increasing. 18% of Brits over 75 reported that they used a smartphone in 2019.
If you own an iPhone or other Apple device, you can make FaceTime calls straight away. You can call anybody with a suitable Apple device if you have their mobile phone number or the email address linked to their Apple ID. Originally, FaceTime only supported one-to-one calls, but since 2018, up to 32 people can join a group call.
You can use social media to connect with your loved ones, even if you don’t own a smartphone. In particular, Facebook’s Messenger feature is a great way of keeping in touch during lockdown. As you may know, Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world, with more than 32 million users in the UK alone.
For those of you without a smartphone or webcam, Facebook Messenger could be the perfect way to chat with loved ones near and far. Signing up for an account is simple. You can then send instant messages to friends and family for free, no matter where in the world they live. Much more convenient than costly landline calls!
If you’re looking for a beginner’s guide to social media, check out our top 5 social media platforms for older people.
Keeping in Touch During Lockdown: The Old-Fashioned Way
When it comes to keeping in touch during lockdown, older people are perhaps most at risk of feeling lonely. According to the ONS, around half of Brits over 75 do not use the internet, which poses a significant challenge when it comes to keeping in touch. During this pandemic, the simple act of picking up the phone and speaking to a friend or relative can make a world of difference. Here at Lifeline24, we’re offering a new Reassurance Call service to check in on people in isolation. Loneliness can have serious effects on both physical and mental health, so it is more important than ever to reach out to your loved ones.
Stay Safe at Home
If you are worried about staying safe and independent in your home, or you know somebody else who might be struggling, there has never been a better time to get a Lifeline alarm. Our life-saving service gives you round-the-clock protection from our expert Emergency Response Team. If you have a fall, feel unwell, or are concerned in any way about your safety, you can call for assistance with the touch of a button.
You can order your alarm online today. Alternatively, please feel free to call 0800 999 0400 and speak to one of our friendly advisors. Our Customer Service team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.