With most of the world under social distancing orders, staying connected to friends and loved ones has become increasingly important. Although older adults are certainly accustomed to picking up the phone to speak to someone, many are still unfamiliar or uncertain about using video chat.
Here is a simple guide you can use to help ensure that your video chats are successful.
1. Get yourself prepared.
Remember that unlike an audio phone call, the individual on the other end will see you. Be sure to groom yourself as though you were seeing that individual in person.
2. Clean up your background.
A messy room can be very distracting for the person on the other end of the video chat. Make sure to straighten up and put away anything that isn’t needed.
3. Use the right device.
Many mobile devices already come with a video conferencing app, as do many laptops and desktops. Be sure to use the device you find easiest to use.
4. Use the right software or app.
There are many different apps and computer software programs available for video chat. But, you want to use the same one as the person on the other end, e.g. FaceTime or Zoom.
5. Consider earbuds or a headset
If you’re in a noisy environment or generally have trouble hearing, you may want to consider earbuds or a headset. This way both you and the other person will hear more clearly.
6. Make sure you have a good internet connection.
Few things can kill a video chat faster than a bad internet connection. You’ll want to be sure you’re in an area with good WiFi, or that your device is wired into a router directly.
7. Make sure you’re in a bright, well-lit place.
Be sure you’re in an area with good natural lighting or to turn a few extra lights on. The more clearly the other person can see your face, the easier communicating will be.
8. Keep the camera at a good angle.
You’ll want to make sure your face is framed squarely within the camera and that you’re not too far or too close to the lens. You also want to avoid extreme angles.
9. Practice makes perfect.
It may feel a little funny to be in front of a camera at first, but in time you will get used to it. Be sure to video chat with friends and loved ones often.
Consider joining an online meetup for people with aphasia and their families and caregivers.
If you follow this simple guide, you’ll be sure to have great video chats with friends and loved ones over the coming weeks.