Veterans homes residents connect to family through video calls

Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 12:57 PM CDT
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Residents at Mississippi State Veterans Homes are staying connected to loved ones through video calls.

Veterans Affairs Executive Director Stacey Pickering said all four homes in the state are providing access to iPads so residents can keep in touch with family despite strict social distancing guidelines.

“Many of these guys are up in age, they know that their immune systems are compromised, they’re scared,” said Pickering. “This helps give some sense of normalcy to their schedule… helps them keep connected outside the home so they don’t feel as isolated and trapped inside that home.”

VA staff came up with the idea and purchased the iPads with help from organizations across the state. Pickering says veterans and their families appreciate the home for providing a way for residents to communicate.

“I had a son contact me, his dad has early onset dementia, he’s afraid he’s going to miss time and miss events as his dad’s Alzheimer’s gets worse,” said Pickering. “So I think it’s harder for the family members not being in the home than it is for our veterans per say.”

Although the iPads were ordered for continuous communication during the ongoing pandemic, Pickering said the home plans to incorporate video calls in its normal routine.

“This is a new tool that we’ll be able to continue using going forward even after this crisis is over, especially for our family members who are in other states and spread out over the country,” said Pickering.

Residents can also use iPads for Telemedicine, allowing residents to attend virtual health care appointments.

The Mississippi State Veterans Homes are located in Kosciusko, Oxford, Collins and Jackson.

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