At PioneerCare, we’ve been encouraging virtual visits since last spring. We hope residents and families find some comfort and joy coming together face-to-face, or in this case, screen-to-screen.
Now that Thanksgiving Day is past, Christmas is coming, and we’re looking at continuing isolation precautions for now, we keep encouraging families to stay connected in meaningful ways other than physical, in-person visits.
While we don’t intend to endorse one product or service over another, our experience has us concluding some are easier than others for this purpose. We’ve tried Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime as platforms and we find FaceTime to be most successful, according to Michele Fitzgibbons, Activities Director for PioneerCare Center.
PioneerCare recently purchased an inventory of iPads, thanks to a mini-grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, specifically to help connect residents to family members and friends. With their larger screens and adjustable tabletop holders, the iPads make for a more comfortable and successful visit.
A new device has surfaced, making connections and photo sharing with loved ones a breeze. The ViewClix Smart Frame is a digital screen you can set on a table and connect to Wi-Fi.
Dorothy Porter, who resides at Pioneer Pointe, recently had one placed in her apartment. Family members remotely connect to the frame using their choice of a smartphone app or a computer dashboard designed to upload photos to the device. Amazingly, family members may also call the photo frame to launch one-on-one virtual visits with their loved one.
Dorothy didn’t need to learn any new technology to use ViewClix, and she didn’t need to sign up for Facebook, Amazon, Google, or any other account to use it. In auto-answer mode, when a family member rings the device, “I don’t need to do anything. I just sit down and wait for them to appear on the screen,” Dorothy said.
Those concerned about network security and privacy can rest assured; only authorized family and friends can call a person’s ViewClix Smart Frame. You don’t surrender ownership of your photos either. And once you’ve purchased this device, there are no ongoing subscription fees.
The only downside experienced from local users so far is that sharing photos is easier done from a computer, and the face-to-face calls can only be done via the smartphone app. It would be simpler if both the computer dashboard and the phone app were more similar in function.
Again, we don’t typically endorse specific products. The main two takeaways here are that we find FaceTime working better to connect with a loved one residing at Pioneer. Call ahead to make arrangements so an iPad can be made available for your visit. And if you’re looking for the ideal Christmas gift, the ViewClix Smart Frame might be a good way to go.