How to use devices in social care services
Firstly, it is vital that staff develop their own digital capabilities in order to support others to do the same. Here are some ways that tech devices can support connection and engagement both with others in a care service and also families and friends.
It is best if you have limited experience to start with the basics and build up confidence in using the device. This includes understanding how to turn it on, understanding the home-screen and exploring applications or as people call them for short – apps. If there is someone in your team that is more “tech savvy” than it could be useful to get them to help go through the basics with the rest of the staff or even appoint someone to take the lead on tech questions.
The SSSC have created an online portal to help support you with 23 Digital capabilities to support practice and learning. This includes guides on digital security, understanding your footprint (where you go on the internet), using social media, recommended apps, professionals apps such as LinkedIn and managing your professional identity online - http://23digital.sssc.uk.com/
Digital Unite has a comprehensive list of guides in how to access technology mostly geared towards using a computer or laptop but also to help with tasks such as online shopping and online banking which will be very helpful throughout this time of social isolation https://www.digitalunite.com/technology-guides
Supporting others to use devices
Once you feel confident yourself, you can help others to access devices. There is a need to be aware that some people may have never encountered technology before and using devices may seem like a daunting prospect. These individuals will need reassurance, time and support to become familiar with the devices.
The key is to be available and aware of individuals who are less familiar with technology and digital and ensure you are regularly asking, prompting and practicing accessing the device and apps to build up their confidence in using it every day. Everyone will need support with staying safe while using a device, especially if accessing the internet including when creating passwords, sharing personal information and protecting privacy.
Again the SSSC has more information on this http://23digital.sssc.uk.com/?p=69
Some tips when supporting others to use devices include:
- Keep it simple and related to things that are responsive to current needs. There is a list of ideas on what to use devices for in the section below.
- Write a step-by-step guide and also use images and colours to stimulate engagement to support individuals to understand and learn how to use the devices. This can be referred to when you are not around also.
- Use accessibility settings to create a user-friendly environment and make the device work for the needs of the individual. For example, Apple products have larger fonts and functions such as voice over, a magnifying glass, audio descriptions, voice control and an LED flash for alerts. Apple guides has step by step tutorials on how to get the best use out of their devices -https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/ipad/ipad9a2465f9/ipados
What to use devices for
Start with basic apps that help to meet core needs, for example:
- Messaging: messaging apps can help reduce social isolation and help individuals stay connected through Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or emails. These require that you create a profile or an account.
- Video calls: Skype, Facebook Messenger or Zoom calls are an opportunity to interact visually with family members who may be keeping a distance for health reasons throughout Covid-19.
- Entertainment: Use the device to watch on-demand video content on apps such as YouTube or listen to music on Spotify. These apps are free however there are advertisements on them unless you want to pay a subscription. These apps can be used for educational purposes. for example through the use of podcasts or watching educational talks on subjects. They can also be used to watch content which would help support reminiscence and connect a person to their memories.
- Games: Bingo, crosswords, solitaire and singing apps can help alleviate some of the boredom from being isolated.
- Interactive and sensory apps: Fishpond app, water sensation, animal and nature sounds can help with memory and also have a calming effect on residents with advanced dementia or complex needs.
- Documenting: Microsoft Word or other writing or blogging apps can be helpful for those who enjoy writing a diary or like to record their thoughts. The voice control settings can be used to allow someone that is unable to write to communicate their thoughts and feelings.·
- Travel: Google Maps is regularly used to look up areas where residents lived in the past or explore a new place they would like to travel to.·
- Languages: Google Translate is a fantastic app to communicate with residents who may have reverted back to a mother tongue, which is a common symptom of dementia.
Technology and connection initatives
We know that there are lots of older people at home or in care homes right now who are having to isolate from the wider world for a while because of the coronavirus outbreak.
We wanted to offer some new activities online which we hope will help people stay active and connected during this difficult time, so we’re launching Luminate@Home.
From 24th March, every Tuesday and Friday at 2pm, a new short film will be posted online using Luminate’s social media channels and websites. The films have been designed to inspire and guide you through a creative activity that can be done at home or in a care home. The activities will be presented by professional artists and will feature different arts forms including crafts, poetry, music and dance. Once posted, the films will be left online so you can access them at any time.
Try your hand at a craft activity using recycled materials that you’ll find in your home, or a dance routine that you can do regardless of your fitness level, including seated if that works best for you. Sing a song that may be familiar to you, or learn a new one. We hope that you find the films enjoyable and entertaining, and that they might go some small way towards easing the anxiety of the current situation.
Luminate@Home has been developed in partnership with Scottish Care, the national membership body for independent social care and is co-produced by Graeme Roger.
Playlist for Life
Connect through music during isolation and build your loved one’s personal playlist.
Playlist for Life is a charity that specialises in harnessing the power of music to connect people and help those living with dementia and those who care for them. In these uncertain times Playlist for Life is encouraging everyone to connect with their loved ones by creating a personal playlist of ‘the soundtrack of their life’ - a personal collection of the tunes that give you that flashback-feeling whenever you hear them.
A personal soundtrack can be a lifeline for you or someone you love. Music can help calm an anxious mind, bring cheer when someone is feeling low and can make time pass quicker. Building a soundtrack and discovering the memories associated with each song is a wonderful way to connect with family and friends.
Find out more at : https://www.playlistforlife.org.uk/
Generations Working Together
Generations Working Together's (GWT) main aim is to promote and support the development and delivery of intergenerational practice in Scotland as a method of creating community cohesion, reducing isolation, engaging people in designing local solutions and promoting positive mental health.
By intergenerational work we mean projects, activities or events where people of different generations who might not otherwise meet each other do things together in positive and creative ways. Intergenerational work includes any activities which remove and break down barriers between the generations. In todays crisis GWT is identifying ways people can stay connected with friends and family and with different generations by using our phones and online technology in a range of activities. For many older people using online technology is very daunting and this is where our younger generations could really help.
GWT provides one day and online training opportunities, a library of resources and facilitates 18 local networks across Scotland which are now going online. Zoom meetings for local networks will be arranged in the coming weeks to help support members to reconnect giving ideas and sharing safe information on how it can be done. GWT will be developing online training courses to help staff and practitioners feel more confident and knowledgable around intergenerational work.
Membership is free and we encourage everyone to check out the benefits and join their local network.
Ideas and knowledge are being shared online this week as we celebrate National Intergenerational Week across the UK.