In 2013 Kimberley Care Residential Home, a specialist care home for residents living with dementia, started a conversation about how new technology – iPads – could be integrated into a care environment.
They approached a partner school, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, to invite their students from the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to get involved.
From there followed some behind the scenes organisation between the care home and the DofE coordinator at the school. Next a dementia awareness session for students was held one lunchtime, by Rock Sturt previously of Alzheimer’s Dementia Support Services, to gauge the students’ interest in the project. At this lunchtime session were Lorraine and Raisa from East Kent Independent Dementia Support and contributors to the Dementia Diaries, who were able to talk about their personal experiences of living with family members with dementia.
Students were invited to discuss what dementia is, what the symptoms are and how it makes you feel, then invited to contribute ideas for the project and sign up to participate.
What happened next
Students were able to volunteer at the residential home for an hour a week after school, spending time with the residents using the iPads as tools for conversation and real time reminiscence.
The following benefits have been seen from the project:
Residents able to establish or maintain contact with the outside community, family and friends via the students and also the equipment;
Residential home able to provide a wider range of activities using the new equipment;
Positive impact on the wellbeing and quality of life of residents and staff when the students are in the home;
Students have the opportunity to enrich the lives of older people in their community;
Students have volunteer and work experience in a care home environment which will support future employment applications and potential employees;
Student has a greater understanding of dementia which can be passed through their family, friendship and community networks.
Kevin Post recently discussed the impact of the project on residents at the home: “combining forces between us, a medium sized care home, and the students on the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, well, everyone is a winner.”
Kevin Post, Director, Kimberley Care Residential Home
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