Residents in a Welsh care home have been receiving technology lessons from schoolchildren, as part of an inter-generational project involving bringing their care home together with a local primary school. The children, aged between 9 and 11, from Ysgol Coed y Gof, visited Plas Bryn Care Home in Cardiff and helped residents to use mobile phones, tablets and laptops to access the internet, use apps and even take selfies!
9-year-old Ysgol Coed y Gof pupil, Maggie, said: ‘It’s really fun to teach people to use technology instead of people helping you’ and Plas Bryn resident, Doreen Kinsey, who is in her early 80s, said: ‘I love it and we all love it. We enjoy seeing them, it takes us back.’
Care homes have often been late adopters of technology, but this project is an example of how it can improve the lives of older people. Read on to learn how to make the most of technology in your home.
For many older people living alone at home, new technology can seem intimidating and difficulties in finding help and support may mean that they struggle to make the most of the benefits it can bring. However, a move to a care home, with staff available 24 hours a day can be the ideal opportunity to improve IT skills and embrace smartphones, tablets and laptops.
4 Tips to Help Your Residents Make the Most of New Technology
- Understand how they want to learn: Everyone has their own learning style, so it’s important to understand how your resident would like to develop their new skills. For some people, reading and researching is the natural starting point, whilst others prefer to plunge straight in and learn from their mistakes. Find out what works for each resident and take a person-centred approach to supporting them.
- Get the set up right: For each person in your care, it’s important to consider which type of device will meet their needs best and whether they use a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Getting the set up right is essential – make sure that the device is powered up and connected to Wi-Fi and that the right browser or apps are easily accessible. In some cases, a specialist keyboard or mouse may be helpful to overcome problems with dexterity.
- Find out what interests them: In order to maintain enthusiasm, it’s important that your resident enjoys their experience and feels a sense of achievement. Helping to tailor each session to their interests will improve their experience so find out beforehand what they’d like to achieve and focus on this. Topics such as researching family history, looking up old addresses on Google Maps, talking to family members on Skype, or playing online games are all popular starting points.
- Overcome worries: Lack of familiarity means that many older people have genuine worries about using technology. In particular, they may be afraid of breaking a device or looking foolish. Offering reassurance about the robust nature of modern technology can allay many of these fears and by taking a supportive and encouraging approach to their learning, you can help to improve their confidence.