Video Chat Provides Older Adults Essential Social Contacts

man on video chat

Smartphones, tablets, and computers are highly useful tools that also enable older adults to maintain social contact with friends and family. Research at the National Institute on Aging states:

“Social isolation constitutes a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality, especially in older adults.”

National Institute on Aging

In other words, social isolation is unhealthy – especially for older adults.

A host of issues can prevent older adults from interacting with others in person, including:

  • Acute health concerns
  • Cognitive and mental health issues
  • Mobility issues
  • Geographic distance from friends and family

Video chat solutions provide older adults with the option of interacting with their friends and family, whether from the convenience of home, while traveling, or just about anywhere with phone coverage or access to wifi. This post examines several of the more popular selections older adults can use for video chat to interact with friends and family.

Apple FaceTime

Apple’s FaceTime ships as a standard offering on all iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks. It has seen widespread use as a video chat app for several years running. A recent bug discovery revealed that users placing a call could hear the audio of the person receiving the call before they picked up, raising privacy concerns and triggering an investigation by the New York State Attorney General.

FaceTime

FaceTime added group calling in a relatively recent update, allowing you to have a video call with more than one person. FaceTime remains a popular app for video chat and has a broad user base, despite the recent privacy concerns. 

Key Features:

  • Allows multiple people on voice or video calls (up to 32 people)
  • End-to-end encryption 
  • Only available on iPhone, iPad, and MacBook

Google Duo

Duo, released last year, is the newest entry in Google’s line of video chat apps. You might remember the popular Hangouts app which Google supposedly shut down late last year (you can still use Hangouts). 

Duo

Key Features:

  • Group video chats (up to eight people)
  • Text chat messages
  • Send recorded video messages
  • Available for Android and Apple devices
  • Available for Mac or PC
  • End-to-end encryption

Skype

Skype, by Microsoft, has been around for several years. People use Skype for voice and video calling, sharing files, and more. Skype is also frequently used for international calling. 

Skype

Key Features:

  • Group video chats (up to 50 people)
  • Text chat messages
  • Screen sharing
  • File sharing
  • Call phones (Skype charges fees for international calling)
  • Call recordings
  • Available for Android and Apple devices
  • Available for Mac or PC
  • Secure payments
  • End-to-end encryption

Facebook Messenger

The Facebook Messenger app is a popular choice for people active on Facebook. It supports free calling over wifi, group chats, payments, and more.

Messenger

Key Features:

  • Group video chats (up to six people)
  • Text chat messages
  • Voice recordings
  • Secure payments
  • Chat with a business
  • Available for Android and Apple devices
  • Available for Mac or PC
  • End-to-end encryption

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a popular alternative to Skype and Messenger and among international users due to its free voice and video calling features. It is also useful for file sharing and text chat messaging.

WhatsApp

Key Features:

  • Group video chats (up to four people)
  • Text chat messages
  • Free voice and video calls (including international)
  • File sharing
  • Voice recordings
  • Available for Android or Apple devices
  • Available for Mac and PC
  • End-to-end encryption

Zoom

Zoom is a popular platform for business communications that has many features that require a subscription to utilize fully. The free version of Zoom allows time-unlimited video and voice calls with a single person. Group video and voice calls are available with the free version but have a time limit to 40 minutes per session.

Zoom

Key Features:

  • Group video chats (unlimited people but time-limited to 40 minutes)
  • HD audio and video
  • Text chat messages
  • Record calls with searchable transcripts
  • Screen sharing
  • Calendar integrations
  • Available for Android or Apple devices
  • Available for Mac and PC
  • End-to-end encryption

There are numerous video chat options available for older adults to help them stay connected with family and friends and avoid social isolation. If you need assistance choosing and setting up one of these popular video chat apps, please contact Prime of Life Tech for assistance.