Living, loving, laughing, learning
“I never imagined I would be able to visit the museum – going online has opened up whole new possibilities.”
Opening up new worlds – Getting on-line
Many older people feel that they really do not want to have anything to do with computers. In this project we invited five young graduates to come into Pembroke Lodge, a small care home to introduce residents to the possibilities of going on-line.
The owner Charles d’Cruz is committed to the highest quality of care and knows that innovation can enrich the lives of his residents. He is clear that the future will see everyone having access to being on-line.
At the start of the day residents were adamant that they had no need of computers whatsoever and some refused to even come out of their room. ‘Don’t give me anything new.’ Within half an hour several residents were fully involved and enjoying the experience of being on-line. They could hardly believe their eyes.
It was wonderful to see the transformation take place. The Yell young people were so skilful in the way they explained. They swiftly and easily guided the residents into the computer world– they were undeterred. Patiently and smilingly they sat one- to -one with the residents, talking over their lives, finding out what was important to them and then very naturally, out of the conversation just bringing the computer in to explore the older people’s interests.
The residents went from being closed to computers to being fully engaged and reluctant to stop. One asked ‘Can you stay for 3 weeks?’ as she enjoyed the pleasure of mastering the mouse on google maps. Another virtually strolled round a gallery of paintings that she had enjoyed viewing many decades before as a teenager growing up in Madrid. She had never thought she would see them again, and here she was in Reading able to look in detail and pause at the Old Masters she had loved and share them with her young visitor.
All credit to the warmth, kindness and imagination of the graduates who sensitively encouraged the older people to gently break through their resistance and dip their toe in the water. Residents loved it once they tried and the Yell young people did a fine job. Not only did they help the residents get on –line but generously offered to continue to support the older people in building on that initial experience to make it part of their lives.
With the commitment and care of the owner, Charles d Cruz, and his son, it is clear that this is going to be the start of something that will go on to enhance the life of the home. For us at Caring for Care Homes that is what this is all about – how older people can feel part of the local and global community, connected with others, able to communicate with relatives and friends, able to email, skype and google, whether on their own or with the help of others.
The input of the Yell young people was superb – within an hour and a half they had made a lasting difference. Quite an achievement! Julie McCallum, responsible for CSR at Yell had taken great care over a period of two months to set this up thoughtfully, prepare the ground too ensure it would work well. Despite visual impairments, deafness, memory loss, confusion and other little difficulties, the team were able to appropriately introduce older people to possibilities they had never dared dream of. Care homes rarely get good press – we do not hear of the remarkable work going on in homes. This little home in Reading is helping to take care homes fully into the 21st century and these young people were helping them to do it.
Together creating truly great care for older people