Easiest Video Chat Apps for Seniors (Communicate, Smile, and Connect)

Certified Senior Advisor®
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Easiest Video Chat Apps for Seniors

Video calls are highly valuable to seniors for communicating with their loved ones. And video call apps that are easy to use are incredibly beneficial to them.

Easiest Video Chat Apps for Seniors
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Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

Ever missed a loved one so much that a mere chat or phone call just isn’t enough? So have I! While calling and texting are reliable means of communication, we cannot ignore the value of video calls, especially for seniors.

Video calls are extremely beneficial because they add a visual component that makes your loved one fill the void of loneliness. It promotes their mood and makes them feel as though you’re there with them.

However, even with the increasing use of phones and laptop devices, seniors sometimes experience difficulties with video calling. But choosing the right communication apps for seniors can reduce the stress of this experience and even encourage older adults to use the apps more frequently.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of easy video call apps that are extremely beneficial to the elderly.

The Best Video Conferencing Platforms for Seniors

1. Skype

It’s easy to learn, therefore, ideal for seniors who are relatively inexperienced with video calls. It can be used on any phone, tablet, or laptop device.

Creating an account on Skype is just a matter of entering the username or phone number of the person you want to call and clicking on it to start the video call. 

Here are significant Skype features to keep in mind as a senior:

  • Press the mute button when you’re not speaking.
  • If the camera is turned off, press the Camera button to switch to video mode.
  • To end a Skype call, press the red button on the screen.
  • If you’re having problems hearing what the other person is saying, turn on live subtitles. 

2. FaceTime

This is an inbuilt app that is exclusively for Apple users and is only available on the Apple App Store. It automatically comes with your iPhone, iPod, and Mac. It is an easy app to grasp, and it boasts superior video quality compared to all other platforms. 

Thinking of hosting an urgent family meeting with members who are far away and cannot travel on time? FaceTime is the best for you! It can host about 32 members in a single call!

Additionally, FaceTime makes group video call displays in an orderly layered manner, with the person speaking getting the bigger tile. You could also use Focus View to zoom in on the person you want to see, even if they are not speaking.

Here are 3 ways to start a FaceTime call:

  • Start an ordinary phone conversation and switch to the FaceTime button.
  • Open the app, search for a contact, and press on it.
  • Find the name in the contacts and tap the FaceTime button.
easiest video chat apps for seniors Oscar Senior
Oscar Senior is a unique app that can multitask.

3. Oscar Senior

This app is unique in that it can multitask. It assists caregivers in enhancing their efficiency of care by connecting with the seniors through video calls and other interfaces for in-person interactions. Oscar also serves as a very effective messaging app that many seniors and elderly people can use with minimal instruction.

It also features large, easy-to-find buttons and an uncluttered design. 

Oscar Senior also has a voice assistant feature that allows the senior to control it by voice in case of a call for help. With such an app, what else do you need?

Note that the app is only free for a month, and you later have to pay a monthly subscription of $4.99 for one user and an additional amount for more members. 

Here’s how to create an Oscar Senior account:

  • Download the Oscar Senior app and open it.
  • Swipe the intro slides left and click on Click create account.
  • Sign up via email.
  • Allow the app to access your location, record audio, and take pictures and video.
  • Confirm them by selecting “Allow”.

4. Facebook Messenger Lite

This is the easiest app to use as most seniors are familiar with Facebook. You can make calls right from the app, which is relatively easy. It also accommodates a group chat with family and friends and can be used for voice calling and messaging. 

The good thing about Facebook Messanger Lite is that, unlike Facebook Messenger, it is a simple phone app for seniors that has minimal features. This takes out some confusing bits of the full version. You can also use it on any device and without a Facebook account (available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store). 

How do I make a video call on Facebook Messenger Lite?

  • Install the app and sign in.
  • Open up a chat between you and the person you wish to call.
  • Tap the upper right video camera option.

Which Video Calling Device is Best for Elderly People?

1. GrandPad

It comes with an 8-inch touch screen tablet that includes a stylus, a charging stand, and a built-in Verizon 4G LTE. It also features a simple menu with a few important functions, large home page icons, and a clutter-free layout. 

GrandPad stands out because of its one-touch access to connect with friends and family digitally. It can play games, make ordinary phone calls, send voice emails and play music. All of the features are designed to be as simple as possible for older persons to understand.

2. Amazon Echo Show

It is a smart 8-inch HD screen with a built-in smart home hub that enables seniors to make video conversations with ease. It also has Alexa built-in, allowing the elderly to make a video call using voice commands. 

Although it is one of the most complex communication devices on the market, the Amazon Echo Show is simple to operate. It features simple and concise functions that are readable to people with vision impairments. 

It can also be utilized for a variety of other functions. These include operating voice-activated devices like lighting, thermostats, and security cameras. You can also use it as a display album.

3. ViewClix

ViewClix is a 15-inch digital frame that allows you to maintain a regular visual connection with your elderly parents or grandparents. It is simple to use and gives high-definition images and videos.

You can also make phone calls to tablets, smartphones, and computers using this device. Unfortunately, on this device, you can only make the call, not the senior citizen. 

4. Facebook Portal

Meta Portal - Video Calling Devices with Alexa Built-in _ Meta Store

Facebook Portal is a smart video calling device that uses Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to make calls if your senior loved one is a Facebook user. It can make calls to other devices as long as they have WhatsApp and Messenger accounts. It also features animations, music, and endless reading material.

As if that’s not enough, it features a smart camera that pans and zooms automatically to keep everyone in the frame while you move and converse freely.

This, when supplemented by the smart sound feature that improves the quality of your speech while reducing unwanted background noise, makes this one a must-have. 

5. CallGenie

CallGenie - Simple Video Phone for the Elderly

The CallGenie video calling device was created with the elderly in mind. As such, it is by far the most user-friendly. To make calls, CallGenie employs the Skype video calling technology, which is presented on the senior’s television. 

The TV has a webcam that enables video calling through a mini-PC that communicates with the CallGenie software. In this light, your mom or dad doesn’t even have to think about how to answer or end a call because it’s all done for them. For safety, only known contacts’ calls are answered.

Wrapping Up

Video calls have become popular because of one thing: Their emotional touch. The elderly are no exception to this. If anything, video calls serve them the most. 

They help improve their mood, sense of belonging, and cognitive function. No matter how far you are, your loved ones will feel like you’re right there with them, and this can fight depression and loneliness. 

So, if you have a senior loved one who is far away, this is your chance to get them a phone, laptop, or video calling device. From here, set up the appropriate video conferencing app, and show them how to use it. Let your loved one connect to the people they love – they will cherish you for it! 

Note, however, that video calls should never be a replacement for face-to-face interactions. Nothing can replace face-to-face communication and the feeling it brings.

Video conversations can, however, help seniors create relationships and sustain strong connections. And with this guide, making that possible will be a walk in the park! 

Sources:

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Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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