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The Best Video Chat Services for Seniors, Ranked

Staying Connected With Seniors
Video chatting is an easy way to stay in touch with far-away loved ones. We know that hearing a person’s voice on the telephone can be a great comfort for lonely seniors, but seeing a face –expressions, reactions, and emotions – simulates spending real, physical time together. While nothing can compare to sitting in the same room with a loved one, video chatting is a pretty good substitute.

That said, most video chat services aren’t made for elderly adults. These program developers typically envision younger, more tech-savvy people using their products. This can render most video chat services difficult for seniors to navigate. But, in a time when physical interaction is unsafe, many are trying to figure out these services.

If you’ve been troubleshooting a video chat program, you may be putting time into a too-complicated product. We’ve spent the past few months testing a variety of video chat services. Below, you’ll find our favorites, ranked from least- to most-senior-friendly. We’ve also included brief set-up guidelines to help you get started.

If video chatting isn’t your thing, we also have some tips for staying in touch with distant family. Always remember that a medical alert system can significantly improve comfort, independence, and communication between family members. Video chatting is a wonderful way to stay in touch, but if you or your loved one experiences an emergency, a medical alert system is the best safeguard against disaster.

#4 Skype

Skype is one of the oldest video chatting tools available. Though the program is simple, it requires downloading a software tool, which can be difficult for seniors. Additionally, because this system is older, few people have active Skype accounts. This limits the number of people you can video chat.

To set up Skype, you will need to download the Skype program and set up an account. While this download may take some time, things become simpler from there. Simply add contacts for your friends and family. When you see their names in the left-hand navigation column, click “Call” to start the chat. 

#3 Zoom

Zoom has exploded in popularity since the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The program includes the option to download the software or use a web browser to chat, giving seniors more options to suit their technological savvy. Users can also invite others to Zoom meetings using a link. If your family member starts the Zoom meeting and sends you an invitation, all you need to do is click the link to enter the chat.

You won’t need much to get started with Zoom. You will set up an account, which involves entering your email address and personal information. Then, to chat with a friend or family member, navigate to the “My Account” tab, copy the “Personal Meeting ID” link, and send it to your conversation partner. 

#2 FaceTime

Face Timing With Your Loved Ones

FaceTime remains one of the best and easiest video chat tools for most Americans. Unfortunately, this program is only accessible to those who own iPhones and Apple computers. Still, if you fall into this category, FaceTime is the simplest form of video communication. Navigate to the FaceTime application on your phone (it should be pre-loaded), enter your loved one’s phone number, and press “Call.” Like our mobile medical alert system pendants, FaceTime works both inside and outside the house, giving you more flexibility. 

#1 Facebook Video Chat

Facebook added a video chat feature a few years ago, and it remains the easiest way to talk with friends and family. The service is completely free. You won’t need to download a software, and as long as you’re friends with your conversation partner, the process is simple. Navigate to their profile and click “Message.” When the chat window appears, click the small video camera icon to start a video call. From our perspective, using Facebook Video Chat is nearly as easy as using a medical alert system.