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A woman is seen video chatting with a senior couple

Necessity breeds invention

Video chat with my parents
By Tom Wellner
Physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic is a key strategy to keep people healthy and safe from potential infection. A side effect of this practice, however, is that we must keep our distance from family and friends, which is difficult to do.

Like many of you, I have senior parents. In my case, they live in a Revera retirement residence together in Toronto. Before COVID-19, my family would get together with them on Sundays, maybe have brunch or dinner, so we had a chance to catch up in person at least once or twice a week. Today however, with retirement residences following physical distancing protocols, I’m not able to visit in person with my parents. In fact, the last time I visited them was three weeks ago when we took protective steps to limit access to essential visitors.
“If you’re like me and feeling the angst and melancholy of not being able to see a loved one, please take a moment to look into video chat options.”
So, just like we do with our daughter who is in the UK and our son who also lives out of town, we are attempting to be creative and FaceTiming with them. It takes a bit of getting used to but the ability to see faces and smiles makes this challenging period more dynamic and real.

For Apple users, FaceTiming is as easy as making a phone call. From an Apple device, using either an email address or phone number, you simply go to your contacts on your phone, laptop or iPad, and instead of selecting the familiar green “telephone” or “text” icon, you choose the other green one that resembles a video camera. The person on the receiving end could be using any sort of Apple device, as long as it’s synched with either a phone number or email address. Within seconds, you are video chatting.

Not everyone uses Apple products, and I’m not here to endorse a brand. There are a number of free and relatively easy-to-use video conferencing apps and platforms that are just as simple to use. From Zoom, to Google Hangouts, to Skype, to Facebook Messenger there is an abundance of options that can connect you with your loved ones. If you’re like me and feeling the angst and melancholy of not being able to see a loved one, please take a moment to look into video chat options. I promise you; your day will become that much brighter when that familiar face pops up on your phone. Mine sure did. And when the COVID-19 pandemic ends, and I assure you it will, this newfound learning will also help out during one of our infamous Canadian snowstorms.
Tom Wellner
By Tom Wellner
Tom Wellner is President and CEO of Revera. He has led Revera since 2014 and has guided its strategic direction to grow, innovate and lead in the sector. He has a passion for innovative solutions to complex problems and believes that innovation is key to designing a better aging experience.