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Video calls for nursing home residents

May 14, 2010
by ebarbera
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My hip 80-something mother-in-law uses Skype's free video calls to view the family as she talks with them over the computer. I'd like to see video calls in nursing homes, either via a video phone or over the Internet in the resident computer room—what, your facility doesn't have a computer room yet?

Families could literally see how their loved ones are doing, relieving anxiety and contributing valuable information to the treatment team. (Who knows better than her family that Mother isn't quite right today?)

It would allow long-distance family members to participate more actively in the lives of their loved ones.

In a nursing home with WiFi, a laptop could be put on a movable cart to bring to the rooms of residents who are unable to get to the computer room, reducing isolation.

It's also a great marketing tool for families and residents alike.

Dr. Barbera is an author and a licensed psychologist consulting in long-term care facilities in the New York City area. She frequently lectures on subjects related to psychology, aging, and nursing homes. Dr. Barbera is available for private consulting with organizations, institutions, and individuals around eldercare issues. Visit her personal blog at


Dr. Barbera is an author and a licensed...



Our older son is a dentist in Hungary. We SKYPE him every Wednesday, after he gathers the four children and his wife. They all share their school activities, what they had for supper, who is in the shower, etc. sometimes we only see our son, because of the time change and church activities, etc. We still live in our own home, but I highly recommend this service for all LTC providers. We are 67 and 76 years old.

It must be wonderful to be able to see the children growing, even though they are so far away. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Eleanor Feldman Barbera, PhD