How to Video Chat - A Guide for Seniors To Stay Connected

Senior man looking at laptop with four images of people in a video chat session

One of the easiest and most rewarding ways for seniors to stay connected with loved ones is a family video chat to check in on the extended family. Online video calls are more intuitive than ever, but the multitude of options and the ever-changing technology can be confusing for some seniors.

Here are the most reliable options for video chatting on your computer or smart device to stay in touch with family members who live far away or around the block with a few touches of a screen.

What Is the Best App for Video Calls?

The simple truth? There is no “best” app, only the app that works best for your family. To find the app that will unite your family on the screen, ask yourself:

  • What devices will we use to talk?
  • What brand is everyone’s device?

Some seniors prefer the simplicity of video calling from their smartphone. However, these cameras are smaller, and holding your phone for several minutes can tire your arms. Computers, tablets, and Smart TVs provide a larger screen for you to view your kids and grandkids.

Try to avoid learning a new device just for video chatting. If you are more comfortable using your iPad than learning how to use a desktop computer, choose the app optimized for iPads.

Below, we cover how to communicate face-to-face on any device you choose.


How Do I Video Chat on My Phone?

Video chatting on your smartphone is very similar to placing a standard phone call, which is why phone video calls are a popular option for all ages. For seniors who want to use their phones, here are the two simplest options.

FaceTime – for iPhones & iPads

If you and your family members have Apple devices, then you’re in luck! Video chatting is as easy as opening the FaceTime app, which comes pre-installed on iOS devices.

Navigate to the FaceTime app, search for the contact in your phone, and touch the Video Call button. The other end will ring just like a phone call. For best results, make sure you have a strong WiFi or mobile data connection.

Google Duo – When Someone Has an Android

FaceTime only works for iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices. So, if you or someone in your family has an Android phone, get them to download Google Duo, a video conferencing and calling app for Android and iOS users, to chat over video any time of the day.

Download the Google Duo app on your phone’s app store. Once you and your family members have it downloaded, here’s how to make the call: open the app, search for their name in Contacts, and initiate a video call.

How Do I Video Chat on My Computer?

When you chat with family on the computer, you can relax, move around, and not worry about keeping yourself in the small frame of a smartphone. Before you begin chatting, make sure there is enough lighting for your friends or family members to see you clearly.


Zoom is one of the fastest-growing video conferencing options. Download Zoom for your desktop to connect with several family members over one call.

Once you download Zoom, you can join a Zoom meeting by entering a meeting ID and password or clicking on a link the host sends out, usually via email. We recommend asking your family members to set up the meeting, so all you need to do is join the meeting with a couple of clicks.

Zoom is also available on smartphones to provide multiple ways to call up a loved one and start making new memories.


Skype is another leading video calling and conferencing app that works in the same way as Zoom. Talk to your family and see if they have any preferences when it comes to video chatting on a computer.

Skype is free to download on your computer or smartphone. Like Zoom, you will create a free account and a user ID. At that point, you are ready to make calls! Before you chat with your sister, son, or granddaughter, ask for their user ID so you can add them to your Skype contacts.

The kind, attentive staff at Civitas Senior Living can provide personal assistance any time you want to video chat with your family and friends from the comfort of your suite. The resort-style amenities and accommodations set the perfect stage for a fun and stimulating conversation with anyone around the world – they’re just one video call away! 

Contact us to learn more about the possibilities at Civitas Senior Living.


Published 6/14/2021

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