One of our users, Michael, asked how he could encourage his mother to engage with Mindings. In our experience, there are many ways to get a person in the habit of interacting with Mindings, habit being the key. Here are our Top 10 tips
1. Set-up Mindings in a place where it will be seen several times throughout the day
2. Send content regularly
3. Write more descriptive text
When sending a picture – add a more personalised and fuller description. Don’t just send a picture of the neighbour’s cat or a flower in your garden with the caption “Cat” or “Flower”. Instead, try “This is Fonzie, he’s the neighbour’s cat, but he likes sleeping on our deck”, or “First tulip of the spring! This is from the bulbs we bought in Amsterdam”. It becomes a conversation piece for a future phone call and it lends itself to further similar pictures, building a narrative.
When sending a text, write fuller messages. Mindings is good at fitting even quite long messages on the screen (thanks to the variable text size feature).
You can also add instructions or calls to action, eg “remember to write this on the calendar”.
We had some great learnings on this issue during a Mindings dementia trial in Suffolk.
4. Send older pictures as well as new pictures
It’s great to “share the moment” and send a picture of what’s happening now, but you can just as easily send a older picture. It stimulates subsequent telephone discussions, and for users with dementia it’s proven to be a great tool for reminiscence therapy.
Also, Mindings has a great “Favourites” feature. If you think that you won’t be able to send a new picture every day, you can add some “favourite” pictures to the Stream. Upload pictures via the Admin Website (or select some favourites from the Archive), and mark them as “Favourites”. In the Display Settings section of the General Settings tab select how many of those Favourites you’d like in the stream, and each day that number of pictures will be picked at random from the Archive and added. This is a great way to re-use familiar pictures, such as older family photos, which can be enjoyed again.
5. Use the Multi-Response feature
Multi-Responses can be added to pictures. In one trial we used it to invite people to an Age UK Day Centre for lunch!
6. Create a “Grouping” to send content
7. Change the GotIt! button
8. Don’t obsess about the content
9. Leave Mindings on 24/7
iPads are tricky to start up as is swiping-to-oprn and launching an App – particularly if the user is technology-shy, or has a physical or cognitive impairment. So that Mindings can stay switched on 24/7 without causing the anxiety of an electrical device being left on, we have built in a “Sleep Mode”. It’s not possible for the Mindings App to actually switch the iPad off, so at the selected time (which you can set on the Sleep tab on the Admin Website) the Mindings screen will go black, with some dark grey text saying that Mindings is asleep and specifying the off and on time.
The iPad in this mode draws minimal power, and it’s perfectly safe to leave it switched on. iPads are tested to the strictest safety standards, and we have many users who have had Mindings switched on literally for years.
We have had users with dementia who have tried switching off their iPad at night, their families have successfully used plug guards to prevent this.
10. Add stuff *you* are doing to the calendar