It’s arrived!! At 10am on Thursday 16th August after a long labour, a new iPad weighing in at 1.44 pounds was delivered safely to my mother. I thought it was never going to happen because of all the problems we had with getting Mum a WiFi connection.
As mentioned in my last two posts, Digital Technology, Social Media and Older People and Ten Reasons Why iPads are Magic for Older People my 86 year old mother who lives in a care home and has dementia, said she would like an iPad. Here is an update of how she is getting on.
Unfortunately the signal from the WiFi system at the care home did not reach Mum’s room so the manager had the whole system upgraded and still no luck. This went on so long that I carried out some research and bought her a MiFi for her room. This little darling effectively creates a a ‘hot spot’ for her WiFi connection. I also had to get a sim card, which I got from GiffGaff, both of which were recommended by ‘Mindings’ www.mindings.com We leave the MiFi in the doc so it is always charged and ready to do its job.
Now Mindings is a little gem I found for Mum’s iPad, although this too has not been without it’s problems (the issues only relate to Apple products and the developer is working hard to iron them out) It is very much ‘work in progress’ but is brilliant for older people as it has been designed especially for them. Mindings enables you to send captioned photos, text messages, calendar reminders and social media content in a user friendly way for older people. It can be used with a digital photo frame, a web browser on almost any PC or laptop or like Mum, you can run Mindings on an iPad.
Charging Mum’s iPad became an issue until I asked the Manager in her care home to include putting it on charge every night when they help Mum get ready for bed in her care plan. It turns on and off instantly in the smart purple (Mums favourite colour) cover I purchased from www.mobilefun.com at a third of the cost of an Apple cover.
Mum is understandably finding her new iPad easier to use when a member of staff or one of the family are able to do it with her. I keep reinforcing that she will not break it and she just has to press the home button if she gets stuck and start again. She will clearly take time to master her iPad independently but time is something she has plenty of living in a care home.
To make things easier I have only put Mindings on her main home screen. As soon as she understands how to use it, we will move on to help her understand the other apps, one at a time at a pace she can manage. I know she is looking forward to learning about Google Earth. This will enable Mum to revisit places she lived and went to school as a child, Jamaica where my parents lived for four years while my father was in charge of building the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, Australia where they visited many times to see family and friends and other places across the globe on their many holidays abroad, in Scotland and the UK.
Mum is also using her iPad to email the family, short messages. Imagine my surprise when I received an email from her asking what her Apple username and password was! I suspect she had someone with her when she sent it. When I asked her why she wanted it (well I was curious!) she couldn’t remember. The important thing is that she is having to stimulate her brain which provides important mental exercise.
My brother, sister and I, as well as her grandchildren, keep Mum’s calendar updated remotely and regularly send her text-o-grams and photos to keep her in touch and involved with our lives. I find the ability to send her text reminders especially useful.
Overall Mum is making good progress with her iPad and showing great interest in learning more. She has been blown away by its capabilities and loves the way it helps keep her keep in touch with our day to day lives. Digital technology is something we all take for granted to keep in touch with each other. I believe older people have been left out of the loop far too long and I intend playing my part in helping them connect with others as a way of reducing loneliness and isolation. After all if older people who are housebound or live in a care home are unable to go out into the world any longer, we need to bring the world to them. iPad’s offer an opportunity to do just that.