Mindings is a great way to connect technology-shy seniors to their family and friends. Through our clinical trials and feedback from users we already know we can improve wellbeing and make Users feel happier and more secure by helping them to be better connected – we call this “The Mindings Effect”.
The Mindings founders are passionate about supporting people who are socially isolated and lonely, so for some time we’ve been wondering if we can reproduce this Mindings Effect in people who have fewer opportunities of support from family or friends. Over time and after much discussion with a number of social care providers we have developed a concept we call “Groupings”. We tested the concept over the Christmas holidays and we are about to embark on a trial with South London and Maudsley Hospital.
What are “Groupings”?
We supply a Mindings User with a screen, and gather a community of people who can engage with them by sending pictures and messages, share social media content, and support their independent living by populating a calendar with relevant information. For some Users the relationship is enriched by a short weekly phone call, resulting in meaningful conversations around the content.
Without the constraints of physical proximity; the ties of committing to fixed regular times and the pressures of sustaining an hour of face-to-face conversation; we believe that:
- We can develop a sufficient pool of participants to allow connections based on shared interests.
- The nature of the engagement (taking pictures, sending text messages, talking on the phone) will be appealing and perfectly suited to a cross-generational demographic.
Beginning with the User (the person wishing to grow their network), we help install Mindings in their home, and we begin gathering a virtual community with them. We first identify whether or not they have geographically distant family or friends who we can engage. Although visiting their relative or friend may not be a possibility, offering them the ability to materially contribute to their wellbeing by simply sending them a picture or text message may be a welcome opportunity.
Next, we engage Groupings – supplementing the family. These people, of a demographic and geographical mix, can choose days on which they will send text messages and pictures, and some will have a short phone call at a time they can pre-arrange. A text message sent to Mindings will confirm their upcoming call and perhaps share some news, and the picture can provide a jumping-off point for the conversation, having been on the Mindings screen throughout the day.
Every interaction with Mindings is automatically logged, and with our desktop and smartphone Apps the whole network around the User can benefit from a telecare effect, actively or passively receiving notifications of the User’s “GotIt!” acknowledgements.
Groupings will be connected in a closed network and here they can share information with the other Groupings members, gleaned from the conversations – providing valuable information about the User’s current wellbeing, upcoming challenges, etc. We are developing a framework to support Users in their goals and enable Groupings members to regularly quantify the User’s wellbeing in line with existing wellbeing frameworks.
The Groupings members share access to a calendar on which anything relevant from their telephone discussions can be entered. User’s preferences will vary but calendar entries of current Mindings Users include social events, birthdays, hospital appointments, and even work rotas of family members – all allowing users to be better connected to the lives of those around them.
Social Care teams can also be involved in the Groupings, participate in discussions, gather wellbeing data and act as a link to other social care services that family and friends would not have access to.
Over the coming months we will be developing the Groupings concept and our wellbeing measurement framework, then testing it with our South London and Maudsley Hospital trialists. Watch this space for developments!