For the hundreds of veterans who are long-term care patients at the Ste-Anne’s Hospital, staying in touch with family over the holidays has never been easier.

Hospital staff are helping the aging vets use video calling service Skype.

Fernand Henley, a World War II pilot who has received the Order of Canada, has been in the hospital for five years, unable to travel to visit his out-of-province children. Skype allows him to stay in touch with his daughter France Henley Amirault in Nova Scotia and other children scattered in Toronto and California.

“You can see him, you can see how he looks, you can see him smile,” said Amirault. “When he smiles, it’s because he’s enjoying the back and forth.”

The average of Ste-Anne’s patients is 93 and many are cognitively impaired. Being able to see their loved ones is a big improvement over just talking on the phone said Louise Audet, spokesperson for the West-Island CIUSSS.

“If they see their loved ones, most connect and it’s also stimulation for them,” she said.