VASL case study

VASL Wonderful WhatsApp

Case-study written by volunteer

 After almost 6 weeks with only phone call contact, my client was able to download WhatsApp and we were able to catch up face to virtual face this week.Vasl volunteering logo 1

What a difference a face makes! We spent the first few moments giggling about our ‘lockdown hair’, then praising the wonders of modern technology.

My elderly client was completely amazed by the ‘real time and place’ quality of the video call. We wandered (virtually) together around the garden and discussed certain plants and tasks which I’m undertaking. Vegetable growing was an interesting discussion whilst standing in the greenhouse.

My client has truly had a home visit...in reverse! This is not to say there were no concerns or challenges. For my 88-year-old client, it was a demanding thing to be talked through how to access and then download an App, over the phone. After an hour, we reached the point where the download stated it was incompatible with her device. This was frustrating for us both, but my client is patient and determined, so I ended the call with the promise to research how to complete the process on an Android mobile. Luckily, at some point after I had done that, and realised she would need more help to do this, a family member managed to download the App for her.

I received a message to say she was now on WhatsApp, and the following day, we were giggling over our unruly hair. What a triumph! My client was concerned it would cost (which it doesn’t) and that it would stop her phone working as a normal phone (which it won’t).  Initially, it took a while for my client to work out which button to tap to open the video call, but calm and patient description, helping her navigate the screen ( including the all-important tap to make the icons appear) was eventually successful.

I left her considering the wonders of maybe seeing the faces of family, whom she is missing dreadfully, when they call. We would recommend it to any community champion and their clients if they have access to WiFi, a mobile or tablet, and patience. It pays off and will make the isolation so much more bearable for vulnerable and lonely clients missing that vital human contact. Wonderful WhatsApp!