We often assume that older people cannot take advantage of the tools available via the internet. However, looking at the web as a huge library of images, activities, books, films and music can be a fantastic resource to help someone living with dementia. By tapping into the types of services provided by organisations such as Google, Youtube and Lovefilm you can help your loved one connect with long forgotton memories and interests. Not only can they help you promote discussion, stimulation and enjoyment in the here and now, by using the world wide web, friends and family sat in the same room can again connect with their loved one.
Focus on the activity not the technology, start with ‘Let’s play a game/find some music’ not ‘Let’s use the computer’.
Google searches are 100 per cent personalised, start with ‘where shall we go to today?’ for example, if you know your loved one was a film buff then look up old clips of films and find images of the stars of the day.
Start with a simple activity. Decide beforehand on a straightforward activity , for example, playing a game such as solitaire, finding some music on the web, going through family pictures on facebook.
Finding images on an interest or hobby, it could be animals, art or countries abroad, keep to one subject.
Don’t limit yourself to using a desk top, I pads and tablets are a great tool for making information very accessible to all. A digital photo frame with a slide show of themselves, family and friends can be a great tool, as well as being portable if trips into hospital are required, giving some degree of familiarity and security to the individual.
The key is to start slowly and simply, sticking to short bursts of time and taking the lead from the person with dementia, engagement and encouragement are the important factors and not the completion of the task.