When Was the Last Time You Called Your Grandparents? 5 Ways to Communicate While Social Distancing

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Sometimes we have a tendency to take our grandparents for granted. Between working, taking care of our homes, and raising our own children, it can be hard carving out spare time for a chat, especially when we know we have a lot of catching up to do.

But in this time of social distancing, it’s more important than ever to have some bonding time with our grandparents.

When was the last time you called your grandparents? If the answer is more than a week ago, it’s been too long. So put down the Clorox wipes for ten minutes, put Netflix on pause and gather around. It’s time to make that video call.

Here are five fun ways to communicate with your grandparents while social distancing.

Why You Should Call Your Grandparents RIGHT NOW

The COVID-19 virus is affecting all of us in different ways. But the reality is that people 65 years and older are at greater risk for contracting the virus and experiencing severe illness.

If your grandparents are over the age of 65 or have underlying health conditions, don’t put off that call until tomorrow. Don’t wait for your parents to tell your grandma or grandpa isn’t feeling well.

And this goes for adult grandchildren too, not just the little ones. Your grandparents want to see you, they want to have a meaningful conversation, and they want to know that you’re okay. And you should want to do the same!

Phone calls are great, but it’s even better if you can video chat with them. Seeing their faces (and letting them see yours) is a great way to bond, especially in this bizarre world we’re currently living in!

You Might Have to Teach Them to Use Technology

If you ask grandma or grandpa to join your online video chat, you might need to give them a few instructions on how to get started.

Depending on how much they use technology, you may have to walk them through the process, send them a link to download an app or give them some pointers on how to use the specific features of your preferred chat tool.


FaceTime is one of the easiest video chat apps, as long as both you and your grandparents have an iOS device. If everyone has an Apple device, you can make a FaceTime call just as you would make a regular call.

Want to switch to FaceTime when you’re in the middle of a voice chat? Just click the FaceTime icon in the phone app, and it will automatically switch you to video chat. Super easy.

And if you have iOS 12.1.4 or later, you can even do a Group FaceTime chat. You can invite up to 30 callers to join your conversation just by tapping on the plus sign and adding a new contact to the call.

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Google Hangout

Google Hangout lets you talk or video chat on a laptop, computer, or mobile device. Plus, once you’ve created a group, it’s even easier to connect with that same group again.

With the Google Hangouts app downloaded on your phone, all you have to do is tap the green PLUS button at the bottom corner of the screen. From there, you can select the contact you want to call. Then just hit the camera icon to turn your chat from a text message thread into a video chat. That’s it!

If your grandparents aren’t super adept with using technology, just instruct them to download the app. As long as they have the app, you can initiate the call and all they’ll have to do is hit their camera button to see your smiling face.


Girts Ragelis / Shutterstock

Zoom has been around since 2011, but a lot of people just started using it in the past few weeks.

What makes Zoom super cool is that even with their free monthly plan, you can have up to 100 people on the same chat. With Zoom, you could literally host a virtual family reunion.

Zoom also has lots of fun built-in features. You can set a virtual backdrop behind you, add filters to smooth out those fine lines on your face and record your session so you can watch it back at a later date.

There have been some privacy concerns over strangers bombing Zoom video calls, but they just rolled out a new security update to keep those unwanted visitors out!

To chat with your grandparents on Zoom, just create a meeting and email them the meeting ID number. They don’t even have to sign in or create a Zoom account; they can just click “join a meeting” within the app and enter the meeting ID number.

Facebook Video

Facebook Video chat is just as easy to use as FaceTime, but you’ll initiate the call through the Facebook app. If your grandparents are already comfortable using FB, this might be the best way to communicate with them face to face.

To start the call, locate your grandparents’ contact in the chat menu. Press the video icon and it will start dialing. Once your grandparents answer the call, you’ll be connected!

You will need to enable Video Chat on your device before your first call. If you haven’t already set it up, a pop-up window will prompt you to do so.

Remote HQ

Remote HQ is loaded with features that allow coworkers to collaborate while they’re miles apart. With this app, you can share files, transcribe conversations, and record your sessions. It’s perfect for onboarding new team members and performing sales demos – but you don’t have to use it for that. You can simply initiate a team meeting with a few family members and chat away.

Remote HQ is extremely flexible, but it is geared more towards working than socializing. But, like Zoom, you can be the one to create a meeting and send an invitation to your grandparents. Then all they have to do is click on the invite to join your video call.

What Are the Best Ways to Communicate While Social Distancing?

There’s nothing wrong with picking up the phone and having a voice conversation the old fashioned way. But video conferencing is SO much better. And if your grandparents have been cooped up in the house for the past few weeks, seeing your face will be a welcome change of pace!

Some of the best ways to communicate during social distancing are:

  • FaceTime
  • Zoom
  • Facebook Video
  • Google Hangouts
  • Remote HQ

But let’s not forget about Skype. Skype has been around for close to twenty years, and there’s a good chance that even your grandparents have used it before.

After all, the whole point of video chatting with your grandparents is to keep in touch, not to force them into learning some new technology that they don’t feel comfortable with. So as much as you might prefer to use Zoom or FaceTime, if they already know how to use Skype, you might just want to stick with that.

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Jessica Heston

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