As plans get disrupted by the COVID-19 virus, we are seeing daily life increasingly move into online spaces. While many church meetings, book clubs, classes, and play dates with grandchildren are being cancelled in an effort to reduce the number of infections, the Internet is a wonderful resource to stay connected in what could otherwise be a lonely time period. Thanks to the Internet, there are many ways to see your loved ones face-to-face.
However, it can be disorienting and difficult to adjust to new technology so quickly—not to mention frustrating. So, Senior Lifestyle Advantage Magazine has compiled this how-to guide for the top 4 apps that seniors are using during quarantine, including how to use Zoom, how to use Facebook Messenger, how to use Skype, and how to video chat on your iPhone .
Zoom is extremely easy to use. Also, depending on your needs, Zoom is free! If 3+ devices are on a Zoom call at once, then you have 40 free minutes per meeting. Zoom won’t charge you if you talk to long; it will just end the call. But if only 2 devices are on the Zoom call, then there is no calling limit. That means that if you and your spouse are sitting at your device, and your grandchildren and their parents are sitting at their device, then all of you can talk for as long as you like.
If you want 3+ devices to participate in a Zoom call for free, don’t worry. Every time Zoom ends your call after 40 minutes, you can simply start a new Zoom call for 40 more free minutes.
Here are some easy instructions on how to use Zoom.
How to Use Zoom on Your Computer
The easiest way to use Zoom is on a computer. The host of the Zoom call will send you a link to click, and that’s all you have to do. It’s that easy! Although Zoom will ask you if you want to download or make an account, you don’t have to. All you have to do is click the link. If your children or grandchildren are familiar with Zoom, they can host the meeting and send you the link, which will immediately start the call.
If you want to set up the meeting yourself, it’s a little more complicated. First, make an account on the Zoom website. Next, download Zoom onto your computer. Finally, you click “New Meeting.” It will provide you a link or an ID number, which you can distribute to your friends so they can join you on the video call.
How to Use Zoom on Your Phone
Before any of these steps for using Zoom on your phone, you will first need to download the Zoom app. It’s free on the app store for both Android and Apple phones.
Joining a Zoom meeting on your phone is easy. The host will need to give you the meeting ID. Click “join a meeting,” input the ID, and immediately begin talking to your friends and family.
To start a Zoom meeting on your phone, click “start a meeting.” It will give you the meeting ID, which you can pass out to your friends and family.
One important thing: if you are in a Zoom meeting with many people, such as a church group, it is polite to keep your audio muted at all times. Only unmute it when you are ready to speak, and mute yourself again once you are done. Otherwise, the background sounds in all of your homes will become overwhelming. To mute or unmute your audio, you need to click on the microphone button that says “mute.” It will always be in the bottom left corner, like so:
To video chat using Facebook Messenger on your computer, navigate to Facebook.com and open any message with the person you would like to talk to. Then, click the video camera button on the top right to start a video chat. It’s that easy, and it’s completely free!
If you would like to use your phone instead, you will first need to download the free Facebook Messenger app from the app store (it’s different than the Facebook app!) Then, the process is the same. Open any message, tap the video camera icon on the top right, and start talking with that person easily!
You will first need to download Skype from Skype.com. Then open the app and create a new Skype account using your email or phone number. After your account is created, Skype will assign you a Skype Name. You can view your Skype Name by clicking on the top left where your name is displayed. For example, if your name is Anna Davies, then your randomly assigned Skype Name might be anna.davies42
If you know someone’s Skype Name, then you can look them up on Skype and start a video call. There is a search bar on the top left where you can input their special Skype Name
Once you have found your friend, you can add them to your contact list or call them by pressing the video camera button. Again, Skype can be a bit overwhelming if it is your first time. Luckily, there are lots of excellent resources to get you started. We suggest this short informative video.
4. Video Chat on Your iPhone
Did you know that you can video chat for free on all Apple phones? It’s true! The downside is that all participants must be using an Apple product, because Apple phones can only video chat with Apple phones. There are many advantages to using your phone for video chat, such as the fact that many cell providers, like Verizon, give senior discounts on phone plans.
Simply navigate to the app store download the free app called “FaceTime.” Then, open FaceTime and dial the other person’s phone number. When they pick up, you will immediately begin your free high-quality video chat. FaceTime uses WiFi and is a wonderful way to virtually visit your grandchildren during quarantine. Best of all, the app works on all Apple products, including iPads.
Even though the coronavirus is working hard to make us fearful and isolated , we are truly blessed to have a tool like the Internet to keep us connected. Don’t let inexperience with technology keep you from seeing your loved ones. Nowadays, there are many options to choose from. Try any of these four methods to figure out what works for you, and enjoy socializing from the comfort and safety of your own home.