Why Video Chat Is Vital for Keeping Seniors Connected

Senior Using Video Chat

During the global coronavirus pandemic, we as a nation have been forced to practice social distancing and other measures to protect our health and well-being. While this crisis has been challenging for all Americans, it has been especially difficult for our senior population.

Not only are seniors more vulnerable to the virus, but they are also more susceptible to loneliness and social isolation, which have their own harmful effects. For example, isolation can cause depression and other health problems in seniors, which can place them at even greater risk of contracting the coronavirus.

 Janet McNemar, NHA, MBA, Executive Director at Bryn Mawr Terrace, located in Bryn Mawr, PA, says “Even before the coronavirus crisis, many seniors were feeling disconnected and lonely. Now, with the medical necessity for self-isolation, this problem has been exacerbated for older Americans. And worse, senior adults will likely have to continue with social distancing longer than other segments of the population.”   

“However, the good news is that modern technology, in the form of video chat, can keep seniors connected to family and friends while also reducing their fears, anxiety and loneliness.”

The Importance of Video Chat for Seniors During the Pandemic

Video chat can effectively keep seniors and their families connected, even when they have to be apart. Researchers found that seniors who used video chat apps such as Skype had a significantly lower risk of depression than those who did not use video chat. 

Specifically, a study published in the March 2019 issue of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that seniors who used video chat had approximately half the probability of depressive symptoms after two years compared to non-users of video chat (and those who only used email, social media and instant messaging).

Looking forward, the study suggests that older adults who use video chat technologies may have a lower risk of developing depression years later.

Video Chat Technologies Abound for Seniors Today

Statistics show that 53 percent of seniors already own a smartphone, and 26 percent have Skype. Additionally, one-third of older adults own a tablet, such as an iPad. Video chat makes it easy for seniors to have virtual visits with their siblings and adult children, attend grandchildren’s birthday parties and have virtual teas and lunches with friends.

For seniors who do not already have video chat technology, experts say there are several video chat apps that are free to download and easy for older adults to use. Four of the more popular ones are:

  • FaceTime – This extremely popular video chat device works on iPhone, iPad tablets and Apple Macintosh computers.
  • Skype –This Microsoft service provides video chat between computers, tablets and mobile devices. Also, Skype to Skype calls are free anywhere in the world.
  • Zoom –Many families and friendshavebeen using Zoom during this pandemic. Zoom is popular with large groups as it allows for up to 100 simultaneous users. Video chats up to 40 minutes in length are free.
  • WhatsApp –This is a Facebook-owned video chat appthatenables users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images and documents. A limitation of WhatsApp is that it allows only four users.

Janet adds, “For seniors who need help getting started with video chat, younger family members can be an ideal source of assistance. There are also online tutorials available for beginners. For example, Senior Planet offers an easy-to-follow guide for video chatting with Zoom as well as a Coronavirus Resource Guidethat includes technology tips, scam alerts, video workouts and other virtual events.”


Please click here for information on our efforts at Bryn Mawr Terrace to keep our residents, care providers, support staff and visitors safe. And for helpful senior living and senior care information, we invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior health topics. We also welcome you to stop in for a personal tour when they resume to see for yourself why we’ve been rated “Best in Senior Care.”


We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, “Why Video Chat Is Vital for Keeping Seniors Connected,” we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate, professional team treats our residents as family and respects each of them as the individuals they are, all with their own unique life story.

We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services that are tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived!

Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offering a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, independent living, personal care, memory care, restorative care and respite care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing. 

For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please call us at 610.525.8300 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Bryn Mawr Terrace and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician. 

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