• Suzanne Bourne

Time to embrace technology that brings us together

How will we stay connected with the people that are important to us through the Coronavirus pandemic? Meeting up, coffee together and face-to-face chats are no longer possible, so let's think about what we CAN do.

At Mobilise we have been having some great virtual cuppas with carers using Zoom, we also know that many of you have been using Whatsapp and Facetime to do video calls with friends and family. We are loving the funny stories about being able to see right up someone's nostrils or talking to their forehead as they get to grips with things. We are all learning about new ways to stay in touch and new ways to use technology.

It can be daunting and you or people you know may be resisting. So how can we get over some of the possible barriers?

"I don't have a device" Many apps work across all sorts of devices, smart phones, tablets, laptops, PCs and Desktops (just add webcam, microphone and speakers). A surprising number of people have something spare hanging around - ask around.

"No WiFi or broadband" For people that won't use this regularly a low cost plan from a mobile phone company can give you enough data. Also check with neighbours, they might let you share their WiFi for occasional use (particularly as a temporary measure)

"I don't think it's for me, I'm not technically minded I prefer to speak on the phone" Maybe not, but if you try it you'll have a much better idea if you'll like it. My Mother-in-law was the same and now loves chatting to us all on WhatsApp video calls. She already had WhatsApp for messages so we juts made a video call to her one day and she answered it!

"I'm not sure which app to use - won't it cost money?" - There are lots of free apps - see below. they can be downloaded from "App store" or "Play store" Perhaps someone else can do this bit for you and get set up.

Apps for free video calling

  • WhatsApp - up to 4 people

  • Google Hangouts - up to 9 people

  • Zoom - up to 100 people (we rate this very highly!)

  • Houseparty - up to 8 people (all the cool kids are using this!)

  • Skype - If it works for you do use it but not the easiest starting point.

Give it a go, give and receive some virtual hugs. Once you have got the hang of chatting you could have meals together, family quiz nights, virtual pub nights and more.

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