On March 5, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared that we are in a state of emergency as the first three cases of Coronavirus in our state were confirmed. This started a bit of a panic, as many of us ran out to the stores to buy whatever we could, believing that we would soon be ordered to shelter in place. Whether this happens or not, most of us are restricting our movements, practicing the social distancing that is so important to diminish the rapid spread of the virus.
As we adopt social distancing, it’s crucial that we find ways to stay connected. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. It’s especially important that we remember those who live alone. Thankfully, in today’s world, there are numerous options available for staying connected with those we love during this time. Consider using some of these ways to stay connected.
- The telephone. This may seem obvious or may even be overlooked because it’s something that has been around for so long. Picking up the phone is a great way to stay connected. Be sure that you call those that you normally see so you keep that feeling of connectedness with them. Also, consider calling some family and friends that you haven’t talked to in a while. A simple phone call can go a long way toward making you feel human and to remember you’re not alone.
- WhatsApp. If you have a cell phone, you can download the WhatsApp application. With this app, you can text, call and video chat, all for free. Just download the app and create a free account. One great thing about this, aside from the fact it’s free, is that you can connect with people all over the world.
- Facebook Messenger. Facebook is another app that you can download on your phone if you haven’t already. It’s the most popular social media platform in the world with over 1 billion users. Facebook Messenger is a part of Facebook, but it requires an additional download. It can be used not only to message people directly but also to do video chats with them as well.
- Facetime. If you and your family have Apple iPhones, Facetime allows you to make any phone call a video call. The app comes free with the iPhone, but the person you wish to video chat with must have an iPhone as well.
- Google Hangouts. Those who aren’t Apple users can make video calls with Google Hangouts. Like Facetime, it’s a free app used for video calls on a computer, tablet, or phone. Google also offers Google Duo, which allows up to eight people to video chat at one time. The apps can be downloaded from GooglePlay.
- Zoom. If you want to connect with several at one time, Zoom is a great option. The free version allows calls of up to 40 minutes.
- Portal from Facebook. One of the newest ways to stay connected is with Portal. This Alexa-enabled device, which starts at $129, allows instant video calls to anyone with a cell phone. Portal advertises “If you can’t be there, feel there.” This is exactly what we hope you will accomplish with one of the options we’ve provided — the feel of actually being there.