Video Chatting 101 for Seniors

As most of us are still in lock-down at home, unable to make it to our loved one’s proximity, there are many creative and easy ways to communicate with seniors. Video calling can be a convenient way to get in touch with your family at a near instant speed. For those who have elderly parents at home, hearing their voice and seeing their face is just a few clicks away.

With that said, there are a few potential barriers senior may face when attempting to video chat. Either the platform is too confusing or the buttons are too small to hit; regardless of the issue, this article will visit some of the most common speed bumps of video chatting and how seniors can work around them.

Why Video-Chatting Can Be Confusing

Helped by the COVID-19 pandemic, video calling has become even more popular in today’s world and offers the best way to chat with loved ones from all across the world. However, video calling for the elderly can sometimes prove to be difficult due to seniors’ learning abilities with technology.

Take a forgotten password for example. Most companies have support lines to help and answer any questions from their users, but to even begin to inquire for such a service may prove to be too difficult for seniors. A simple reset password tool at the login page could take tens of minutes to find.

It’s easy to forget how used to technology many of us are. Here’s some food for thought: when you’re on your phone browsing a website, where do you find the menu for that site? Most people instantaneously know to click the hamburger menu up top (the 3 stacked bars) that most websites use, but how did you know to do that? This comes from experience, and general website design language and terminology being ingrained in your mind from years of use. To a senior though, they may have never experienced these simple elements before, and will be completely lost when you ask them to find the menu. To them, it’s just 3 horizontal bars.

If things are shaping up to be more complex than they should be, consider helping them through the whole process, from creating an account to downloading and installing the app. Patience is key when teaching seniors about technology, and it pays off in spades!

The Best Devices Dedicated To Video Chatting

Deciding on the best and easiest-to-use video calling device for seniors often depends on your loved one’s ability to learn new things and technical skills. If your loved ones have experience with technology, most of these devices should not require any external assistance. Below are some of the best examples for video calling devices:

Amazon Echo Show

This voice-activated device offers a seven-inch colour touchscreen – an ideal screen size for seniors. The “drop-in” feature also allows users to get in touch with specific contacts without having the need to manually answer. Additionally, the Echo Show can also play live music, watch television, and even perform tasks such as check who’s at your front door.

Facebook Portal

This device’s integration with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger makes it as convenient as ever to get in touch with seniors. Facebook Portal’s camera also pans and zooms around the room to follow the person you’re talking to. Keep in mind that this plug-in is designed for Facebook users to connect among each other; both you and your loved ones will be required to have Facebook accounts.

Google Nest Hub Max

Very similar to the Amazon Echo Show’s “drop-in” feature, family members with proper permissions are able to contact the user without needing an answer on the other end. The Google Nest Hub Max also functions as a security camera and offers many more useful features like Siri, weather and much more.


Developed with seniors in mind, the GrandPad provides a basic easy-to-use menu with large text and icons. This subscription-based tablet, which works anywhere within the Verizon network, also works with Uber and allows you to choose where your loved one is permitted to go.

Now that you have read about the best ways to video chat and connect with your loved ones during home-bound times, don’t hesitate to help set up your senior-at-home with a working device and account. Your loved ones may already do enough self-isolating as is, so activities like video calling can make their day more than you’d expect. There are many apps and variations of connecting with seniors at the touch of our fingertips, so make sure to check in with them often!

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