Using technology to connect
Alive has been using touchscreen technology to enrich the lives of older people in care settings for almost a decade since its inception. We use touchscreen devices during our meaningful activity sessions in a multitude of ways, allowing us to respond in the moment to the needs, interests and wishes of individuals.
Touchscreen devices can place the whole world at our fingertips. We use them to explore people’s life stories - finding pictures, films or facts that can transport people back to their happiest memories. We create music together by using the latest sensory music apps such as ‘Bloom’ or ‘Midnight’ as stimulation for people living with dementia. Spontaneous internet searches allow us to explore, discover and share music from any decade or country. Touchscreen devices can also be connected to a TV or projector, for an interactive group experience.
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that using technology can bring many benefits for older people, including those living with dementia, such as increased cognitive and physical activity, social interaction and learning new skills. Alive met one man who said he was going to buy his own games console so he could play against his grandchildren when they came to visit!
It’s easy to set up technology in most care settings. The majority already have large TVs in communal areas, so they are generally equipped with a good space to use. It’s simple to plug a touchscreen device into a TV using an adaptor and HDMI cable and the TV is a familiar focal point to captivate a group.
Alive has many amazing examples of how technology can be used to open up life again for older people. A particular favourite comes from a reminiscence session where we were discussing love and marriage. One resident was originally from South Africa and we were able to find a picture looking down the aisle of the church in Durban where she was married almost 60 years previously. At that moment she was transported back to the happiest day of her life and it was a privilege for everyone in the room to share the memory with her.
So, how can you get started using technology with older people? Buy a new or refurbished touchscreen tablet and explore! You can also book onto the Alive ‘iPads and older people’ training course and we will empower you with all the knowledge you need to you enrich the lives of the people you care for.