2020 has been a year like no other in living history, bringing phrases like furlough, lockdown and social distancing into our everyday vocabularies. There have been immense challenges for all of us, but for the elderly or those living with pre-existing medical conditions, things have been even harder.
Keeping in contact – even if that contact is not physical – has been more important than ever while the most vulnerable members of our families and our communities have self-isolated. Technology has certainly made it easier, but there are still obstacles to overcome. Here, we look at the different options available for ensuring nobody feels alone over Christmas and in the months ahead.
Make a phone call
In an age when more than 85 percent of people own a smartphone, it sometimes seems as if we use them for everything except making telephone calls. Messaging apps certainly have their place, but there is no substitute for hearing the voice of a loved one. There are various amplified telephones on the market that can make all the difference if hearing difficulties make telephone calls more of an ordeal than a pleasure.
Send an email
Internet adoption among seniors is on the up. This has certainly been escalated by this year’s events, and more over-70s now have email accounts than ever before. Exchanging emails really is today’s equivalent of letter writing. It gives each of you the chance to set out your thoughts and give detailed accounts of all your news. Best of all, there is no need to turn the house upside down searching for a stamp or to venture out to the post box in the pouring rain.
Try a conferencing app
Apps like Zoom have exploded in popularity over the past eight months or so. While this sort of software is nothing new in the business world, it is its social applications that have really expanded in 2020. Suddenly, everyone seems to be Zooming, and Zoom parties are becoming commonplace in these strange times. It is also a wonderful way to stay in touch with loved ones. We all know that youngsters can become tongue-tied when they get a phone thrust at them and are told to “say hello to Grandma.” But with these kinds of apps, they can also wave, blow kisses and show off their latest artwork.
As with the phone calls, catching every word can be difficult, especially when imperfect hearing encounters the mediocre speakers that are so common on tablets and laptops. A hearing aid can make a world of difference in ensuring everyone gets the most out of the experience.
Supporting each other
These are difficult times for all of us. But just imagine how much harder all this would have been if the events of 2020 had taken place 25 or 30 years ago. We are fortunate to have the technology to keep in touch with loved ones, even if circumstances prevent us from seeing them in person, so let’s all make full use of it.