Never before has connection been more important, but never before has connecting people been so challenging. At Alive, we’ve been astounded at how people can still connect in a meaningful way through technology. We’ve been able to keep working with many care homes through online activity sessions via zoom.
Just connecting the iPad or laptop up to the TV using an HDMI cable has meant residents have been able to engage in our reminiscence or music and variety sessions. With the computer/iPad camera facing the residents, our facilitator has been able to respond and interact with the residents. Others have kept it simple and have been using a single iPad with small groups – and it has still bought joy and smiles to their residents.
Nicola Taylor, Alive’s facilitator says “I’ve been amazed at how much I can interact with residents. If I’m honest I wasn’t sure what level of interaction I would be able to achieve – but it’s so much more than I had hoped. Every day I’m talking, sharing and listening to stories from the residents, seeing them light up, sing together. It’s been magical. I’ve even been able to reach those with more advanced dementia. One lady was having a difficult day; the care staff were finding it hard to calm her. One of the staff handed her the iPad to see if that would work, so I sang a slow song with her, and spoke directly to her. She visibly calmed, closed her eyes, raised her hands and joined in singing. It was so moving and amazing to think that we could have that deep an effect on someone just through the iPad.”
We’ve also been working in larger groups of people, using the TV. One lady in the group hadn’t been engaging at all over the previous few days and staff were concerned. However, she was astounded that we were able to talk to her through the TV – so she sang throughout our session, beaming from ear to ear and said “It was the best fun she had had in ages”. The Manager of the home said “The session was incredible and worked so much better than I had hoped for”.
The value of connection has become even more important than ever. Using Zoom proves technology can reach older people and can improve older people’s wellbeing. It isn’t the same as face to face contact, it doesn’t replace human touch, but it can connect on a deeper level. The last few months have taught us that we need to embrace technology and push the boundaries of what it can achieve though trialling new ideas.
Alive’s “Alive and Direct” activity sessions are 60 mins long, cost £40 and we can connect anywhere in the UK. We run a range of sessions which include, Guided Reminiscence, Yoga and Chair Yoga, and Variety Hour. If you are interested, please contact us – firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 377 4756.