Families find new ways to stay connected amid COVID-19 pandemic this holiday

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The pandemic is keeping many families apart this holiday season, so people are finding new ways to stay connected.

Of course, technology is playing a big role.

Residents of Belmont Village Senior Living in Lincoln Park can visit with relatives through the windows and using their phones to talk.

For those who aren't close enough to visit an elderly relative, many are leaning on technology this holiday season.

"I'd never even heard of it and I must admit I was very nervous when it started," said Ana Merritt.

Merritt lives in Urbana and got help setting up her applications from Parasol Alliance technology experts at her senior living community. Now she sees her kids and grandkids every Sunday, and on holidays too.

"I think we have communicated more certainly more regularly since we have been doing Sunday evening zoom," Merritt said.

"This may be the first time someone is looking at it," said Nick Gorman with Alliance.

Gorman is the resident support manager for the Illinois and Wisconsin based company.

"The excitement is just fantastic," he said.

"If you have never done it, it's science fiction," said Pete Linn. "This is very nice."

Linn got help from Parasol's experts in his senior living community in McLean, Virginia.

He said the virtual visits allow him to build a relationship with his young grandchildren.

"It's great to be able to see them," Linn said.

Experts said if you're trying to connect with a senior who may be new to the technology over the holiday, be patient. And when sending an email with an invitation, they suggest cutting out everything so that it's just the link and be clear to "click here" to join our chat.
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