SimplyUnite has developed a touchscreen computer for people in supported living or residential care. Now, care home residents around the country are enjoying having access to email, Skype and the internet.
A touchscreen internet service, Gem, has been specially designed by SimplyUnite to enable people of any technical ability to stay connected to friends and family and to pursue their interests. Currently aimed at the residential care market, it’s part of a package which also provides extensive support to ensure care homes and their staff make the most of the life changing benefits of the internet.
SimplyUnite is the brainchild of Toby Hart, whose mission, when he launched the company in 2007, was to enhance the quality of life for residents in care homes across the country by making technology more accessible .
Almost 3,000 residents to date have registered accounts, which means they have their own email accounts, Skype contacts, photo and video albums. A further 5,000 have easy and supported access to the internet.
Thanks to the SimplyUnite service in Shire Hall, Cardiff, Ceinwen Jones, aged 101, has been able to enjoy face to face Skype chats with grand-daughter Janine who lives more than 3,000 miles away in New York. “It’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant” she said, “I saw her a week ago and it was clear as day.”
And it’s not just email and Skype that are proving popular. Google StreetView and GoogleEarth are allowing residents to reminisce about places they lived, revisit old stomping grounds or see for the first time where their close family are living.
Residents also make use of YouTube music and videos where they are able to browse and choose their own music. In one home, this has had a noticeable calming affect on those residents with dementia, who sit, relaxed and perfectly content, while listening and watching.
Marilyn Bridger, the activities coordinator at Mount Ephraim residential home, recounts how two of her residents were trying to recall the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling, and that it made their afternoon when they were able to read, print off and then chat about the poem having found it using Gem.
The SimplyUnite team are very pleased to deliver internet access to those who would otherwise struggle to use it and take pride in supporting others who carry out this valuable work too.
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