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  • Writer's pictureStuart

Could Mindings help an untapped group of willing volunteers be “Dementia Friends”?

I watched Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, on television this morning lending his support to the excellent “Dementia Friends” initiative.

On our “Disruptive Social Care Podcast” dementia is a subject that my co-presenter Shirley Ayres and I often discuss.

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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