Written by Niki Andreson
Virtual connection has never been as important as it is right now. British Columbia has seen an expansion of virtual service delivery in response to COVID-19. Unfortunately, this rapid expansion makes it difficult for even the most tech savvy among us to keep up!
At Ability411 we answer questions and provide practical information about technologies, tools and equipment that increase independence and well-being for BC seniors, and support their families and care teams. Lately, we have received questions from seniors and their caregivers across BC about the challenges of virtual connection.
Video calling has presented a wonderful opportunity to check in remotely with family members ? whether they are down the street or in another time zone. To keep things simple and easy with video calling try to meet your loved one where they are, virtually. If they have a Facebook account that they log into regularly, then try using Facebook Messenger?s integrated video calling. Consider the device they use too. If they are a tablet user, Google Duo is a great option for Android tablets since it relies on the Google account already associated with that device. Computer-users don?t need to install new software to use Skype, or Zoom ? both are now available to use in the browser, just like visiting a website.
A big barrier for seniors with less digital experience is accounts and passwords. For seniors who have no accounts online whatsoever there are still options, such as Linkello. This website lets you make a link that you can then share with the senior – send it in an email or even relay it to them over the phone. The link is active for 24 hours in the free version and the senior can join just by visiting the link and typing in their name.
Video calling doesn?t just have to be with family. You can easily meet with a doctor without having to line up at the clinic. This is a particularly good option for getting a prescription refill or a referral. These services are covered by MSP, so they will require a BC Personal Health Number. Like with clinics, there are many options including Access Virtual, Babylon by Telus Health and WELL Health Virtual Clinic+.
Medical appointments are not the only service available virtually. Shopping for groceries has been a challenge for many seniors with physical frailties, and now it?s become a real challenge for seniors who are practicing physical distancing. There are plenty of options to order fresh food to be delivered to your doorstep ? and not just for people in urban areas. While the services may be delayed due to the increased volume, the 8 familycaregiversbc.ca 9 planning and scheduling of meals can be an absolute time saver ? particularly in comparison to visiting a grocery store.
Many British Columbians are already aware of the larger stores offering delivery, such as Save-On-Foods and Walmart. There are also delivery services that will shop on your behalf at a store or pick up an online order and deliver it to you. Meal kits, such as HelloFresh, can be a fun option to explore, as they provide you with the correct quantities of each ingredient to complete a recipe that comes with your order. Vancouver-based Fresh Prep provides ingredients already prepared, a great option for those who don?t want to spend as much time in the kitchen.
You can read more about video calling, and grocery delivery on Ability411.ca Do you have more questions about technology to support caregiving? Ask us a question online at www.ability411.ca/ask-new-question