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TV classics give older people in Abertillery an incentive to get online

Poor Wi-Fi and unsuitable equipment was discouraging care home staff from using digital technology with residents. A loan of devices from Digital Communities Wales helped overcome the problems and now the residents are reliving their younger days by watching vintage TV classics.

Pen-y-Bont Care Home in Abertillery is home to 42 residents. The home cares for people who need support in old age as well as people with learning difficulties and dementia.

Activities Co-ordinator Mandy Reed had attended digital inclusion training from Digital Communities Wales and was really keen to use technology with her residents. But the only equipment she had available for this was her personal smartphone, and poor Wi-Fi in the building meant the experience was frustrating for all concerned.

How

Mandy was able to borrow two Samsung Galaxy tablets and an Amazon Echo Dot from DCW for a three month period so she could try out new activities with the residents.

Impact

Mandy says, “The residents were really engaged and had a lot of fun looking at old TV programmes and adverts and listening to music which brought back lots of happy memories which they were able to reminisce about.

“Two of the ladies particularly enjoyed YouTube – they really loved the old TV programmes and when it came to the children’s programmes, it brought back lots of happy memories of when their children were small. We even had a few (happy) tears!

“The tablets were great for looking up photographs of the local area from years ago right up to the present day. Residents looked at the new things that had been built which they hadn’t previously seen or didn’t know about, which encouraged them to chat with each other about the how things had changed.

“We had fun and looked at lots of new things but it was frustrating for me and the residents when the tablets would freeze in the middle of something because of the poor Wi-Fi in the building. When I could see the residents becoming disheartened I would put the tablets away as I didn’t want their perception of technology to be a negative one.

“But, the good news is that having spoken to the Manager about the problem, I have been told that quotes are being obtained to improve the Wi-Fi.”