My wife and I discovered how wonderful it is to make video calls when one of our granddaughters moved to Helsinki for her last year of university. I downloaded Skype from the Internet for free and, because my computer didn’t have a built-in camera, I bought an inexpensive one that clipped onto the top of the monitor.
Glad to meet you, new boyfriend from Munich!
We could see our granddaughter. She could show us her entire apartment and introduce us to her friends and her new boyfriend, who happened to pop in while we were on the phone. She could point her camera out the window and show us Helsinki’s snowbound streets. We could let her see that we were indeed well. Unlike long distance phone calls, a Skype call is free. Free! No cost! We talked for a long, long time.
39 years disappeared in a flash.
The next thing we did with Skype was contact an old friend in Serbia. We had met in 1975, when I was making TV commercials there and her husband was assisting us. My wife had come with me. An email to our friend Ljiljana set up a Skype call with her in her Belgrade apartment. We connected and the years melted away. Although we had kept in touch over 39 years by letter and then email, seeing each other on Skype was just like being together again after a brief separation.
By the way, we could have just phoned her on Skype and left a message with our number if she hadn’t been there to answer. While we still exchange emails, we also occasionally now make Skype calls.
Making a Skype call is easy
Android smartphones require Skype or another third-party application. You can download the free Skype app yourself or your phone vendor can help you get set up. Apple iPhones have FaceTime, a built-in application that is similar to Skype. Either way, setup is quick and easy.
A Skype call lets you share great experiences as they happen. You just need to remember that you can do it!
My wife and I aren’t always as quick-thinking as we could be. Recently we attended a native Canadian powwow. The power of the regalia and the dances overwhelmed us.
My wife shot a lot of photos with her iPhone (see photo above), but we could have used Skype or FaceTime to share the experience with our family members or friends ¨live.”
Early this summer, I visited Niagara Falls with a friend from Germany. If either of us had thought of it at the time, we could have surprised his wife back in Germany with a Skype call instead of just snapping the photo you see here.
Imagine her having the chance to share the experience – the sound and fury of the Falls – with us!
Harsh weather can be a barrier to actual visits on occasion. A Skype call or a FaceTime call can help you and your family feel like you’ve had that Sunday evening visit, without anyone having to leave home.
Skype and FaceTime can even make it possible for elderly parents to be part of outdoor experiences that might be too physically taxing. Note: This requires reliable high speed cell phone service at the location.
One of our sons often calls on Sunday evenings. He initiated FaceTime calls. They’re so much more personal.
We all know “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Video is worth much more.
Video calls are so much more involving and informative. They help you to make a connection in a way that phone calls just can’t. And they’re fun too!
And don’t think that FaceTime and Skype are just for staying in touch with friends and family in far off lands – we live just a half hour’s drive from the son I mentioned above.
Why not try a Skype call or a FaceTime call the next time you’re “talking” with family?
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In summary: With a Skype call or FaceTime call it’s easy for seniors to share experiences and “visit” with family and friends.