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Covid-19: Time for a Virtual Visit

In a time of crisis, staying connected with family and friends is more important than ever.

As the Covid-19 emergency unfolds, we mustn’t forget to take care of those who are particularly isolated or vulnerable. This includes older Australians, our First Australians, and anyone living with a chronic or terminal illness.

Visiting in person is not the best option (for the time being), but have you considered a Virtual Visit? Here are some tips if you’re unsure how:


If you have access to WiFi, connecting with others online is easier than you think. If you don’t have WiFi, you can still make calls but do keep a close eye on your data limits.


FaceTime on phone

For Apple users, FaceTime is the easiest way to video call anyone in your contact list (phone book or email list). If the app is not included on your device already, you may need to download it from the App Store. Once installed, just locate the contact details of the person you want to speak to and press the video icon.


WhatApp on phone

For those with an Android phone (or even those using an iPhone), there are plenty of other third-party apps that do the same job as FaceTime. Two of the easiest to find and use are WhatsApp and Skype. Download from your app store.

You can also use WhatsApp to send messages and make phone calls. For video calling, look for the video icon in your contact list.

Skype is familiar to many people as a way to video call on a laptop. But it can also be downloaded to your mobile phone.

Facebook Messenger

Messenger on phone

Most people use Facebook daily but few realise that its Messenger function also comes with a video calling facility.

It’s simple to use. Open the Messenger app, locate the person you want to call and press the video icon at the top of the Messenger screen.


Zoom on phone

If you need to do a group call (why not get the whole family together?) or even just a one-on-one chat, a good way is via a Zoom conference call. It’s free if you keep your call to less than 40 mins. 


Most phones have a built-in voice and video recording feature. Most of the call apps mentioned above also allow you to record a message and forward it to your contacts. The benefit of a recorded message is that your loved one gets to hear your voice (and see your face if you use video) AND they can replay the message.


In the age of ubiquitous text messaging and emails, sometimes simply hearing a voice on the other end of a phone line can make a huge difference to people who are isolated and alone. Yours may be the only voice they hear that week.


Letter writing is fast becoming a lost art. Many people under the age of 40 may never have even sent a personal letter by post! However, for older Australians, getting a letter or a card in the mail is something to treasure. If you’ve got the time, why not give it a go?

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