Posted on 25/03/2020

COVID-19: ways to stay in touch with loved ones without being face-to-face

COVID-19: ways to stay in touch with loved ones without being face-to-face

The outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) across the UK has had a huge impact on many people – particularly those who are older or living with an underlying health condition.

As well as people over the age of 70 being required to follow social-distancing measures for at least 12 weeks to protect themselves against contracting the COVID-19 virus, our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has now announced the UK will be in “lockdown” for the next 3 weeks at least, to help ease pressure on our NHS and slow the spread of COVID-19.

We understand that for older people who are living independently, this will have a huge impact on their social life and will prevent many from seeing their loved ones face-to-face.

Below we explore some of the best ways to stay in touch with your loved ones without putting your own health at risk.

Staying in touch by phone

“The old ways are the best” some people may argue, and you may prefer to keep in touch with your loved ones over the phone during the next few weeks. We’re here to let you know there are many landline and mobile phones now available with accessible features, making them even easier to use. At NRS Healthcare we have a range of telephones that make staying in touch with your loved ones super quick and simple, including:

CL8500 Amplified Clamshell Mobile Phone – this mobile phone is easy to use and has lots of great features, especially for anyone living with a visual or hearing impairment. You can easily change the call volume and connect it with your hearing aids and it also includes large clear buttons and a talking keypad.

Geemarc Cordless Telephone – ideal for anyone who is hard of hearing, this telephone has an amplified answering machine and is compatible with hearing aids. It also has ten handy photo buttons that directly dial the number of your choice.

BigTel 40 Corded Telephone – a more classic corded phone that suits many purposes. This telephone has six direct dial buttons that can be identified with an image of the person or their name as well easy to see buttons and hearing aid compatibility.

Organising a couple of daily calls to your loved ones can go a long way in helping to prevent loneliness and will also improve your mental health whilst self-isolating or social-distancing.

Social Media

Social media is a fantastic way to stay in touch with family and friends, whilst keeping up-to-date with the latest news stories around the world – particularly those surrounding the COVID-19 virus. Plus, it’s easy to access, whether you’re using a desktop computer, laptop, smart phone or tablet.

We’re sure many of you reading this article will already be familiar with social media, but for those who want to get started, or have older friends or relatives who could use social media to help stem the loneliness of self-isolating or social-distancing, here is a quick guide to some useful social media platforms and tools.

Facebook– one of the most popular social media platforms, especially with those aged 55+, Facebook is commonly used to speak with real-life friends online or connect with others who share a common interest. Facebook enables you to share photos, videos and messages with individual people or with all your Facebook “friends” at once. You can also create groups to send messages to multiple people in one space and take part in both voice and video calls
WhatsApp– WhatsApp is something you can install for free on your smartphone. You can send one-to-one messages, including photos, or create group chats with your friends and family to stay in touch. You can also make voice and video calls
Skype – used mainly for video calls, Skype is a great way to see your loved ones remotely and can be used on your desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet
FaceTime – if you and the person you want to speak to both have an Apple device like an iPhone or iPad you can easily video call using FaceTime

Setting up a social media account

If you have a friend or family member who knows a bit more about social media and technology – why not ask them to help you set up an account? That way you can ask them any questions you’re unsure about and perhaps get some advice from them before you start. If not, we’re here to help.

You will need:

  • A desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or a tablet
  • Access to the internet / WIFI
  • An e-mail address

A friend or family member may have sorted your WIFI connection out for you already so, if you’re not sure if you have access to it, it’s best to check with them.

Creating a Facebook account if you’re using a computer:

  • Go to your internet browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge, FireFox, Safari)
  • In the search bar type in “Facebook” then press “enter” on your keyboard
  • Click on the top link
  • Once on the website, it may ask you to log in or sign up. As you are creating a new account you will need to make sure you “sign up” rather than log in
  • Work your way through the boxes or prompts. They will likely ask for your name, e-mail address, date of birth and sometimes your gender. You will also need to create a password. Make sure it is secure and you keep it safe to help you remember it later
  • You’re done! Next time you will just need to “log in” so note down your e-mail address and password and keep them safe

Using social media on your phone or tablet:

  • Go to the “app store” or “play store”
  • Search for the social media app you are looking for
  • Click install
  • When it has installed you will see a new icon on your home screen with the rest of your apps
  • Click on the app and go through the prompts. You will need to log in – or sign up if you haven’t yet set up an account

Mobile devices are usually more at hand than a computer or laptop and, as you can use them in different areas of the home, they give you easier access to stay in touch with your friends and family.

Important tips to remember

Social media has so many benefits, but it is important to keep your personal information private. After you have created an account you might want to start sharing straight away. However, it’s vital you check your privacy settings to ensure you know who you are sharing your information with. Social media networks like Facebook allow you to write posts that can be seen by everyone – but you can easily change this, so your posts are only seen by people you choose.

You can change your privacy in the settings tab. It’s always important to check this before you begin to post any information. It is vital you don’t share personal information like passwords, bank numbers and other private information on social media.

Just like on your e-mails, sometimes you can receive spam messages or links. If someone contacts you and you don’t know who they are, or what they have sent, it is often best to ignore it. This is especially important if they have sent you a link that allows you to click on it. If you know the person, you can always send them a quick message to ask what they have sent to you and confirm the link is safe.

However you choose to stay in touch with loved ones over the coming weeks, please remember to take good care of yourselves and follow UK Government advice, particularly if you, or someone you live with, is in the high-risk group for COVID-19. For the latest updates regarding stock and deliveries on the NRS website, please read our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) information page.

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