Keeping in touch with elderly relatives online – the best apps, gadgets and tools for coronavirus self-isolation

WITH the elderly being advised to self isolate due to coronavirus you may want to think of virtual ways to communicate with them.

Social distancing doesn't mean you can't keep in touch and there are devices out there for those who are less tech-savvy.

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Video-calling apps

The standout choice of virtual communication for most people will be apps like Skype, FaceTime and Whatsapp video calls.

If your relatives or friends already have devices with these things set up then it should be easy to start using them even if they never have before.

According to the BBC, Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams, advised: "Something integrated like a video call app on a smartphone, tablet or a laptop with a built-in camera, for example will often be more straightforward.

"Older people may also prefer physical interfaces like a mouse rather than a touchscreen or trackpad."

Simple devices

If you're considering investing in a new device to help an elderly relative stay in touch then the following may be for you.

The Facebook Portal has been designed for big screen video chats between friends and family.

The camera follows people around the room as you talk to them so allows for movement.

It starts at £80 for the photo-frame model.

If you have a smartphone you can access Portal via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Alternatively you could invest in a Google Nest Hub Max or an Amazon Echo Show, which both have big screens for video-calls as well as lots of other features.

The Nest Hub costs £219 and the Echo Show retails at £80 for the compact model.

You will still need to download the relevant communication apps to these devices.

Fun apps and social media

You don't necessarily have to invest in a new device to improve virtual communication.

Downloading social media apps like Facebook or Instagram can keep those self-isolating informed about what's going on without the need for a phone call.

Also, apps like Words With Friends although you to play with friends remotely and have fun while doing it.


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