Most of us may have elderly relations in our families, some who live close to home and others who live further afield. While some older people have embraced technology, using Skype and Facebook to keep in contact with family members, some members of this age group may find this a little more challenging.
Cambridgeshire council is trying to eradicate the growing number of lonely and isolated men and women over a certain age, and they are doing this by launching an app.
Mindings is an app that is specifically designed for the older generation. The software allows photos and videos to be shared between family members and friends so that they can keep in contact more. This app though, has been designed to be much more user friendly than most social media sites, and has been preloaded onto an iPad or other tablet for that specific use.
There has been an urgent need for something to be done regarding loneliness in the elderly community. With relatives and friends working full time, and sometimes living hours away, it has become more difficult for regular visits, which may be the cause of older people becoming isolated. As well as this, many of the target audience of this app are widowed or living alone and so it will allow them to make contact with others, even when they may be unable to go and see them physically.
There are many productive outcomes of this app, the most of important of course is that it has the possibility to increase the quality of life for a group of people. As well as this, it may also open more doors for them to enter the digital world that younger generations have grown up with. Mindings has been purposefully generated to be easy to use and, with practise, this may lead to older people learning more about technology. Some of the people from the trial have even asked for the iPads and tablets to be unlocked so that they can use other apps, as well as the Mindings app. Another bonus to this NHS funded scheme is that the target audience are taught how to use it while trying themselves, and this makes the jump into the technological world more appealing.
There are many useful features on this app, which runs on ios, android and windows. There is a feature which allows a calendar to be used by all parties invited, so that reminders can be sent to all whenever there is a special event or gathering, helping older people to keep updated as to what family members are doing, even if they are unable to be there in person. Photos can also be added to the app and viewed much like you would a photo album so that they can see their grandchildren or great grandchildren grow up, even if they are unable to see them regularly. Mindings also has the ability to synchronise with social media so that the tweets and status updates could be viewed.
With the success of this trial by Cambridgeshire Council being proved, hopefully more will follow suit and invest in this technology. The older generations deserve to have a place in our technologically advancing society, even if it has to occur one step at a time, and with the resources that we have we should be able to increase the quality of life of many of the elderly community.
What other technology can we use to allow the elderly to stay in contact with relatives and friends close to home and around the world?