Here at Konnekt, we – like you – understand that social isolation is an ever-increasing challenge amongst the Deaf, Disabled and hearing-impaired communities and their carers and loved ones alike.
Just look at these statistics from the last three years:
- According to a survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 25% of Australians reported feeling lonely during the COVID-19 pandemic
- A survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in the US found that 53% of adults reported that their mental health had been negatively impacted by worry and stress related to the pandemic
It is, therefore, incredibly important to consider how assistive technologies can help the elderly and Disabled people in your life combat social isolation, to live healthier and more fulfilling lives as a result.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 fun and engaging activities you can undertake over video calls with your elderly or Disabled loved ones.
The perfect device with which to pair these activities? We’re excited to introduce you to Konnekt’s two widely celebrated assistive communication products:
About the Konnekt Videophone and Konnekt Captioning Videophone
Purpose-created assistive communication devices like these not only address the many risk factors of elderly people living alone, but are also remarkably simple to teach and use.
Of course, there are a number of important factors that, if considered, will encourage the elderly people in your life to both learn and use them to better connect with loved ones via the use of assistive communication technologies.
Examples of Key Factors to Consider
- Screen size
- Complexity of the technology (e.g. so-called “menu-diving”)
- Assistive functionalities such as loud volumes, high-contrast display, captioning and large buttons
- Ability to call frequently dialed contacts with one touch
Luckily, the purposefully crafted design of both Konnekt Videophones take into account all of these considerations, plus many more.
Unlike smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, Konnekt’s products are specifically designed for elderly people, meaning your loved ones’ dignity will be respectfully retained while they adapt to the presence of technology in their life.
You can read more about the philosophy that forms the foundation of our products here.
Activity 1: Virtual museum tours
A virtual museum tour is a digital experience that allows people to explore a museum and view its exhibits without physically visiting the museum. This can be done through various methods, such as a website, a mobile app, or a virtual reality platform.
Virtual museum tours typically offer 360-degree views of museum galleries and exhibits, and may include additional multimedia content such as videos, audio guides, and interactive features. Some virtual museum tours also offer the ability to zoom in on exhibits and view them in detail.
Virtual museum tours have become increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to engage with cultural institutions while physical access is limited. It can also be a valuable tool for people who may not have the ability to travel to a museum due to physical limitations, financial constraints, or other reasons.
Activity 2: Group exercise classes
It’s widely acknowledged that regular exercise is so important to maintain a healthy lifestyle regardless of age. Still, the importance of maintaining a relatively fit and healthy body increases with age, as the body begins to be challenged by the inevitable effects of aging.
In a strange silver lining to what has been a very tough, pandemic-ridden three years, the advent of COVID-19 has brought with it a sharp increase in the number of opportunities available to exercise online.
There is now a huge range of options to choose from, including classes from your local Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, or martial arts studio, plus gentle, age-specific exercise classes run by gyms.
Even YouTube hosts a multitude of free channels that can support the elderly individuals in your life to engage in online exercises or participate alongside a family member through video calls.
By utilizing communication devices like the Konnekt Videophone or Captioning Videophone, family members can lead exercise sessions over 2-way video calls to encourage participation, ensure proper technique, and foster stronger social connections.
Activity 3: Virtual book clubs
A survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that older adults were more likely than younger adults to read books in their leisure time.
Playing to this generational strength, a number of online book clubs have launched in recent years, allowing older generations the opportunity to connect with other book-lovers, in new and exciting ways, over shared interests.
Assisting the elderly person in your life to undertake a quick Google search and shortlist the book clubs of their choice can be a fun and collaborative first step.
Remember to look for elements such as:
- Cost (some online book clubs, such as those run by local libraries, are free)
- Timing of any live online calls
- Connectivity support
- Location of the book club
- The style of literature focused upon by the book club
Of course, families can also arrange a video call to play an audio book, to read a printed book together, to suggest a new book to read, or to review a book together online.
Activity 4: Virtual cooking classes
Everyone’s favorite: cooking!
As people age, their ability to cook meals as often and as complex as they once could begins to diminish.
Online cooking classes can help to not only keep the elderly person in your life engaged and active, but also assist with important physiological support such as the maintenance of all-important fine motor skills.
Do a quick google search with your loved one, and you’ll discover a range of local, live and on-demand cooking classes catered to:
- Different styles of cuisine
- Specific dietary requirements (e.g. gluten-free, vegetarian, lactose-free)
- Different meals (e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Learning With Experts is just one example of a popular organization that runs both live and on-demand classes, scheduled according to international time zone.
Additionally, we have received feedback from our customers indicating that elderly individuals are utilizing their Konnekt Videophones to teach and demonstrate family-favorite recipes to their adult children. How amazing!
Activity 5: Virtual game nights
Just like you or any younger person might play Wordle or Words With Friends over your smartphone, seniors too can enjoy virtual game nights with their friends over an online call or via an assistive communication device such as the Konnekt Videophone.
From trivial pursuit and guessing games to checkers and chess, playing games online can assist elderly people with maintaining a range of important measures of good health.
In fact, a recent study published in the US Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy found that playing video games improved balance and gait speed in older adults.
- “General Social Survey 2020”, Australian Bureau of Statistics
- “Effect of Exergames on Physical Performance in Elderly Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial“, Lima et al. (2018)
- “The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use”, Penchal et al.