A simple communication tool and a boost of social wellness.

The Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing (FPCIW) launched a small pilot to connect Front Porch Home Office employees and volunteers with the residents of Front Porch communities in an effort to create meaningful connections and conversations through Skype™ video chats. The project, Skype™ Social, provided brief trainings to Front Porch staff and student volunteers, and coordinated video chats with residents throughout our communities. FPCIW also offered conversation guides with thematic questions from LifeBio’s Memory Journal to assist participating staff members with facilitating conversations.

The project’s outcomes were overwhelmingly positive:

  • Enthusiasm level was high with an average response of 4.2 out 5
  • When asked if “technology empowers our residents to live well and independently” 8 out of 10 answered “Strongly Agreed”
  • When asked if technology can “improve the way people interact with each other,” 9 out of 10 answered “Strongly Agreed”

Skype™ Social left a strong impact on the staff members who participated in the project:

“It was a completely joyful experience meeting her. She is so open, engaging and full of stories! I really felt a connection with her. I am so grateful for the opportunity to connect!”

“We talked about our respective hobbies, how the holidays were celebrated at the community, and our pets. I learned about her passion for genealogy and shared my own recent family discoveries…We also spoke about our past interactions at the community related to the work that I do here in the Home Office…I had a great time. It was a positive (and dare I say therapeutic) break to my usual work day. Thank you for the opportunity to connect with a resident we serve.”

Residents enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to speak with a Home Office staff member, and the sharing of stories and experiences created important bonds and relationships that helped all of the program’s participants better understand and connect with one another.

Prior to Skype™ Social, the majority of the residents had never used Skype and saw this as a gateway technology to keep in touch with friends and family.

FPCIW has continued to receive high interest in the pilot, and has expanded Skype™ Social’s success to additional communities to what is now an ongoing Front Porch activity.

Browse our Skype™ Social photo gallery.

Download a PDF version of this story.