Residents at one Bristol home we visit regularly are all living with dementia, and have a wide range of interests and backgrounds. Some are much more cognitively able than others, so there is a diverse range of needs for the staff to accommodate.

Through three Alive activity sessions, we showed staff how they could make better use of the home’s large TV, in a more person-centred way, by linking it to an iPad. In one of the sessions residents told us about places that are special to them, and we explored these places using the Google Maps Streetview app. It was during this session that we met Tilly. 

Tilly doesn’t say much

Staff told us ‘Tilly just sits, and doesn’t say much’ – but within a few minutes and using the iPad, we had Tilly talking about the gold mining area where she grew up in South India! As memories flooded back we did some online searches and put together photos using the Pic Collage app, which we printed out for her to keep.

A change in mood

The next time we visited Tilly was having a bad day, she was unhappy and frustrated. Staff saw that we were able to use the printouts to get her talking about something positive, and her mood changed completely. Later on during this visit another resident called Pat took great pleasure in revisiting her piano playing skills through playing on a keyboard app, and everyone else got to hear and have a go too. The home is now going to get an iPad for staff to use with residents, and intend to book Alive for regular activity sessions, which the staff will continue to take part in and learn from. 

*The image used here is not that of the person in the story.