After learning that a Sacramento assisted living facility helped a resident attend a family reunion in Chicago, I decided to track down the licensee, Vixcent Villaluna, and ask how he did it. Vixcent and I discussed how Skype can create a happy day for mom.
Mark Germanos. Tell us Vixcent. Who was in Sacramento and who was in Chicago?
Vixcent Villaluna. The family’s mother is in Sacramento. She is a resident at our assisted living home. She is a pleasant and lovely lady. Most of her kids and grandkids reside out of state. We learned one day they were planning a family reunion in Chicago. The mother is the oldest living family member. This reunion would be most memorable if she could attend.
Sending mom through busy airports was not an option. After all, she is living in an assisted living home in California. She is not agile enough to handle air travel and airports. We sat down with the family and put on our thinking caps.
Mark Germanos. What did you decide?
Vixcent Villaluna. It was decided that Skype video conference could work. We could have a computer in Chicago and a computer at our assisted living facility participate on this call. We created this checklist. Your readers are free to reuse this:
1. Check your Internet speed at both locations. We learned from https://support.skype.com/
2. Make sure you have good cameras at both locations. Notebook computers usually have a camera built in to the monitor. We bought a good camera for under $100 and placed that on a general access computer.
3. Run a test. Make sure both participants are at the place where they will be on the big day. If the family reunion will occur at Joe and Jenny’s house, make sure you test at Joe and Jenny’s house.
4. Tweak the environment. Test the lighting, adjust the chair height and obscure the background noise. The test was successful after we determined how best to tweak the lighting.
5. Schedule the actual event. Remember, you may have different time zones. Chicago and Sacramento are two hours apart. Make sure you specify the time zone when scheduling long distance events.
Mark Germanos. You surely did your homework. Tell us about the big day.
Vixcent Villaluna. It was a Saturday. Staff dolled up mom. They put on her makeup and made her feel very pretty. Staff created a Skype video conference and coordinated the time the family from Chicago will call. Mom sat at the computer for an hour while talking to her loved ones in Chicago. She said she felt like she was in the same room. Family members thanked us repeatedly for making this special day happen for mom.
Mom still talks about this like it was the happiest day of her life. It was a happy day for us too. The technology certainly is within reach. The primary factor is...will you use it?
Vixcent Villaluna is the Licensee of Lakewood Villa, a premier residential care facility offering senior care and assisted living in Sacramento, California. Although many assisted living facilities are in Sacramento, you probably want a place for mom where she can feel safe, warm and loved. Lakewood Villa has staff onsite 24/7 to provide the assisted living and senior care to make mom comfortable in the Autumn of her days. Visit http://lakewoodvillacarehome.com/