Digital Communities Wales kit used to support people with dementia
By Mark Smith, Digital Content Development Officer
Digital Communities Wales has recently provided IT kit boxes to dozens of voluntary organisations and community groups around Wales. Equipment including laptops, smartphones, tablets, accessibility software and mobile wi-fi devices has gone to those who work in some of Wales’ most disadvantaged communities.
Recipients of the kit will use it to help the people they support, to get online and do more with digital technology. In many cases the kit will also increase the capacity of the organisations using it, helping them to deliver their work in new and different ways.
One example of this is Book of You CIC (Community Interest Company), which helps people with dementia in Wales, through life stories supported by its innovative web app. The social enterprise organises life reminiscence sessions in care homes for staff, families and people with dementia, using digital media (internet, tablet computers) and a range of approaches, to help people compile their life stories. Its programme of six weekly sessions has a direct impact on wellbeing, mood, personalisation of care and social isolation.
Not all care environments have the necessary equipment to run a Book of You life reminiscence session, but the company doesn’t want people to be excluded. Its sessions can include up to eight people with dementia, working on their books directly or in a pair, using either a laptop or tablet. The company’s work helps people to build skills in using computers and tablets, taking photos and uploading them, research using the internet, using tablet-shot video to help people tell their stories, finding and using music and video, and using Skype and other tools to tell their family and friends about their story.
Book of You’s clients are all digitally excluded, including people with dementia and their relatives and friends, most of whom are aged 65 and over. Book of You estimates that it will be able to work with 25 people with dementia each month, with the kit it has received from Digital Communities Wales. Book of You will also use the Digital Communities Wales kit to train care home staff, supporting them through a six-week programme. People with dementia will therefore be supported directly by Book of You staff and volunteers, and the trained care home staff.
Beneficiaries of Book of You support will also be directed to Digital Communities Wales learning resources.