Resources for Family Caregivers of Older Adults
Being Face to Face with Senior Loved Ones — When You Can’t Be There

Being Face to Face with Senior Loved Ones — When You Can’t Be There

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Many seniors and their families are fortunate enough to spend each holiday season together. Other families are not in the same situation and are unable, for any of a multitude of reasons, to spend the holidays with their senior loved ones.

Most long distance family caregivers we’ve encountered want to spend quality, personal time with their older and elderly loved ones and are saddened when a holiday trip is not possible.

One way you can be up close and personal with your senior this holiday (and throughout the year) is through the use of Skype!

Making calls with Skype is relatively easy and can often by done with equipment you and your loved one already have on hand.

What is Skype?

Skype is a software application that provides for voice and video calls over the internet.  If both you and the party you are calling have a webcam or computer, tablet or smartphone with a camera, you can see the face of the person you are talking with (as well as everything near them in the room) and they can see your face (and – WARNING – possibly everything around you as well) .  They can see every big smile and teardrop during the conversation while you can see their reaction! All those expressions and reactions you miss with a voice call now seem so close you can reach out and touch them.

What Do You & Your Senior Loved Ones Need to Connect on Skype?

  • A computer, smartphone or tablet device
  • Downloadable Skype software or app
  • Skype accounts for both you and the person you are calling
  • Camera, either built into your device or connected (for video calls)
  • Microphone built into or connected to your device (headsets are even better)

What Will it Cost to Connect via Skype?

There is a lot you can accomplish on Skype for free, including one to one video calls. Skype also features premium services at a price.

Hidden Benefits of Year Round Skype Communications

There are many potential benefits in addition to the closeness that comes with video calls — which may certainly be enough alone to make it worthwhile.

You can see for yourself how your senior loved ones are doing.

  • Do they look like they’re keeping themselves well?
  • Do appear to be losing weight, which may be a sign they are not eating well?
  • Are there any outward signs of illness?
  • Can you see behind them to see if the house is well maintained?
  • Depending on where you set up this computer system, you can get a look into their living space to check up on whatever might concern you in your absence.

We hope you try this fun way to feel like you are sitting in a room together with your senior loved ones if you are not already.  We hope you take the opportunity to enjoy reminiscing with them and maybe even other remote family members this holiday and seeing the joy on their faces when grandchildren and children come into view!

If you are using Skype already we’d love to have you share your experiences with others in our community!

2 Responses to Being Face to Face with Senior Loved Ones — When You Can’t Be There

  1. I still say we need to move mountains to be physically present with our seniors! If you can’t get away and visit your own family, go to a local senior center/home and visit other seniors that will so gratefully welcome your company.

    YOU will feel better. Remember, we all will likely be seniors some day (hopefully) so maybe the good karma will come back to you in your time?

    And, BB, hope to see YOU at #DadChat tonight. Why don’t you host it with me some week and we make “Our Seniors” the topic – and how we can teach our children to respect and care for them. I have great personal stories on this subject!

    • Bruce, we love that you express what you think and feel it strongly. We all have different sets of experiences that guide how we think — as well as distances that separate families. If you CAN be there it’s great but there are solutions for those who still want to show they care even when they can’t be right there.

We'd love to hear your thoughts!





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Proud to be included as #3!