I watched Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, on television this morning lending his support to the excellent “Dementia Friends” initiative.
I have a personal interest in dementia – my own grandmother lived with dementia, and my wife’s grandmother also had Alzheimer’s. As well as my own parents, those two amazing people were the among the main inspirations behind the creation of Mindings.
If you’re new to Mindings, our service enables you to share captioned pictures, text messages, calendar reminder and social media content, from your mobile phone, on a digital screen that the user doesn’t need to touch. And with our powerful “GotIt!“ feedback system that lets the sender know their picture or message has been seen, they know their loved one is alive, well and interacting with the world. Add in our new multi-user shared calendar and the whole family can actively participate in caring – reminding the user about everything from important events and appointments, through to what day to put the rubbish out and what time a television show is on.
Since we started to release Mindings to users the response has been amazing – particularly among people who use it with older family members with dementia and Alzheimer’s. A typical comment, unsolicited, from a user is:
“From experience so far, I have no doubt that Mindings is going to reduce Mum’s anxiety (and mine) about her living alone with Alzheimer’s”
David Cameron also personally launched Dementia Friends today, with an aim by 2015 to help one million people sign up.
This is a fabulous initiative, and one we at Mindings support wholeheartedly. One million people is an admirable ambition – but it is a very large number. It struck me that Mindings is something that could really help in two ways.
- Mindings is an inclusive service – it opens up the power of social media to even the most technology shy, enabling people to be better connected to their family with a device that they don’t even need to touch. It’s telecare – with social relationships at its heart.
- Lots of people like the concept of volunteering but simply don’t have the time. One of the reasons the Olympic Games Makers volunteering scheme worked so well was because it was for a fixed period of time. Mindings gives more people the ability to befriend people living with dementia by becoming “digital friends”, sharing pictures, messages and stories – with a Facebook-like online relationship that simply isn’t possible when a person with a cognitive or physical impairment can’t use a computer or mobile phone.
We believe that Mindings could help Dementia Friends reach their goal of one million people, by opening up a whole group of people who would otherwise not volunteer – people who would happily befriend a person living with dementia, but because of geographical distance or lack of time to physically visit are unable to. However, they could with Mindings – and with the rich social media experience that Mindings offers, that relationship would be meaningful and valuable.
If you would like to try out Mindings, visit our main website. We’ll show you how you can run Mindings on a device you probably already have, and we welcome you to set up a free account and have a one month free trial on us (no need to even give us your credit card).
- Would you like to be a “digital Dementia Friend”?
- Do you think the power of social media could help people living with dementia?
We are passionate about dementia care, it’s one of the main reasons we created Mindings. If you have any ideas how we can be an even better Dementia Friend, we welcome your thoughts.
Come visit us on Facebook and tell us what you think, or connect with me on Twitter.
Some of you may be aware that Mindings‘ Founder Stuart Arnott produces and presents “The Disruptive Social Care Podcast” with social care advocate Shirley Ayres. In this fortnightly programme, available on iTunes and YouTube, Stuart and Shirley discuss innovation in social care with guests from the world of social care and technology innovation.
The font was originally developed to help readers with dyslexia. By having “heavy-weighted bottoms” the font is grounded and is less likely to flip and rotate in the minds of a dyslexic reader.
Created by developer Abelardo Gonzalez as a response to expensive alternative fonts, he open-sourced it to make it available to as many people as possible.
On reading about the project, the Mindings Team immediately installed the font so that Mindings users could benefit from it. So, now everyone using Mindings can choose the OpenDyslexic font from several font options in the General Setting tab of the Admin website.
Read more about the OpenDyslexic font on the BBC News website, and do please let us know about your experience using it!
The Mindings Team.Read More
A couple of weeks ago Mindings‘ Stuart Arnott and Ian Pleasance appeared on StreetLife Radio‘s “Lunchtime Jam Show” with presenter Jason Bird. Streetlife Radio is Waltham Forest’s only community radio station, run from Waltham Forest College (see the original blog post).
Stuart, Ian and Jason discussed the inspiration behind Mindings, their visit to 10 Downing Street and why photographs are so great at stirring memories and stimulating conversation.
Watch this behind-the-scenes video to see the team in the studio with Jason.
(Apologies for the over-modulated sound).
The Mindings TeamRead More
Our mission is to spread the word about what’s going on in the world of “disruptive social care”, amplify the voices of people with great ideas that few people ever hear about, and to help our communities connect and collaborate.
The show is fortnightly on the first and third Friday of the month, and is available on iTunes. There’s even our “webcam version” which you can watch on the The Disruptive Social Care YouTube Channel.
Here’s a sneak preview of this week’s show!
No, this is not Photoshopped, as some suspicious Facebook fans suggested – this is actually Mindings‘ Stuart Arnott outside Number 10 Downing Street today.
Stuart and @MindingsIan (who’s behind the camera) were invited to meet the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor Rohan Silva to brief him about Mindings. Word has spread about our endeavours to connect families to the corridors of power!
Obviously it was a privilege to have the opportunity to brief someone who has the ear of the PM – and he was suitably impressed – but we also got to meet Larry the Downing Street cat, and Michael Heseltine smiled at us on the way out!Read More