This was written by a family member of a person we support about how they kept in touch digitally and how their son’s anxiety was reduced by technology.
“My son lives in a service in Hove and normally I visit once every two weeks and we talk at least once a week. I had been meaning for a long time to get Skype set up but had not got round to it, although I had got as far as loading the Skype software and setting up an account for him on his laptop.
Then along came COVID-19, so I got my act together. He was very anxious at the beginning of lockdown especially because all the big films he had on his list of ‘things to look forward to’ had been postponed. He was also anxious about celebrating my birthday – we usually have a great meal and cake, so it could have been more about that than concern for Mum. And I wanted to be able to see him and engage with him better than just on the phone.
Well, it has worked really well.
I talked to him beforehand about why it might be nice, and how it would work, and we arranged a time to do it regularly. Every week, I call ahead on the landline so staff can go and remind him. I also asked the staff to help him with logging on and answering the call, and someone stayed with him during the first half-hour of the first conversation in case things froze. Now they just remind him how to log on. We say hi, then they go.
We have had great conversations. He has shown me pictures he has been doing, wanders off to find things or looks things up to explain about particular Marvel characters or whatever. I show him funny things on my phone, and this week we shared a ‘where were we this time last year’ moment – he knew exactly, but I had needed a prompt from Google photos! It also means we can take our time – instead of worrying about blocking the service phone. So far our longest call has been about two hours.
We have also been able to involve his Dad at my end and connect in with his sister who lives in her own flat. So we have many family chats and celebrations.
My advice to anyone a bit worried about using Skype is – give it a go. You will have to prepare the way, but it is worth the effort. I feel so much more reassured. Despite all the conversations with staff about his wellbeing, it is not the same as seeing and talking with him.”
For help on how to use technology check out our guides here.