Staying Connected in the Age of Long-Distance Caregiving

Affordable Companion Home Care Assisted Home Care At Home Caregivers Eldercare at Home Elder Care in Minnesota Elderly Home Assistance Elderly Home Care Service Help for Senior Care Caregivers Home Care in Minnesota Non Medical Senior Care In Home Help for Seniors“Charlie” was devastated when his middle child took a new job and moved out of state.  At 65, Charlie’s health was waning, and although he was in denial, deep inside he knew that he didn’t have years to live.  He loved his family, and the idea of losing regular time with his son, daughter-in-law, and grandson was very difficult.

Enter the magic of Skype, which offers free video calling for personal use.  Charlie’s local son arranged times for Charlie to Skype with his out-of-state son.  Charlie never even knew such options existed, and when it came time to make the first call, it was truly a pleasant surprise.

Charlie was able to see his son, his daughter-in-law, and grandson, making a real connection with them.  His long-distance son was no longer just a voice on the other side of a phone.  He could see his grandson’s goofy antics, and even their dogs got into the picture.

After that first Skype call, Charlie said, “That was really nice.  It helps feel like they’re not so far away.”  Those regular Skype calls were a highlight for both Charlie and his family.

Taking Care of Elderly Parents Senior Home Assistance Senior Companion Care Senior Citzen Care Private Pay Home Care Non Medical Senior Care Affordable Home Care in St. Paul In Home Help for Seniors In Home Senior Care ProvidersSkype, FaceTime, and the other video calling programs are a great way for elderly family members to connect with anyone they love who is far enough away to prohibit regular visits—children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews.  If you are taking care of elderly parents, surprise them with a video call from someone they love.  It’ll make their day, if not their week!

For basic use, such as video calling with family, Skype is free.  Most newer laptops have cameras built into them, and if your computer doesn’t have one, adding a webcam can cost as little as $30 or $40.  It’s a small price to pay for the connection with a long-distance elderly parent.

If you are long-distance caring for a loved one and are without family who can initiate video calling, your elderly parents may be able to initiate/answer video calls themselves.  If not, friends or hired at-home caregivers can also be involved to enable video calling.

If you want to try video calling and want alternatives to Skype or FaceTime, check out Travis Dakota’s HubPages article “16 Best Free Alternatives to Skype in 2014.”

Carol Hauser, M.A.

April 25, 2014


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Comments (1)


  1. Glen Goldsmith says:

    As everyone knows, technology changes almost on a daily basis. Since this article was written quite a few years ago, I wanted to share a great communication tool that is now available to seniors and their family members. My wife and I did quite a bit of research and just got her parents a grandPad tablet ( The tablet was designed just for seniors, primarily for them to be able to connect with their loved ones safely and it has changed my in-laws lives almost overnight. It is a remarkable service that comes with 24 hour support and is very simple to use. They don’t have to worry about passwords or many different fees from different providers. It’s a one stop package deal. The day their tablet arrived, my father-in-law was able to do a video chat with his son in Europe and it was the 1st time he had seen him “live” in over 4 years! Neither of my in-laws are very tech savvy, so the grandPad is a perfect way for them to email people, listen to music, do memory games, etc. We can all communicate with them frequently and send them real-time photos of what is happening in our lives. When we are traveling or find something we think they would like (old trains, unique fashions, etc.) we snap a picture and send it to them. If we are not available to visit them, we can have a video call and it’s like being right in the same room. We can’t say enough great things about this product!

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