SCIE press release

Using computers and ICT to support people with dementia

31 October 2012

New guide from SCIE

A new guide is launched today which supports computer activities for people with dementia. It helps care managers and their staff to use information and communication technology (ICT) to improve quality of life for their clients. The plain-language guide means that professionals who use it do not need to be technically-minded.

The guide is published by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), who hope it will be useful to those who are new to the topic as well as to those who already have some experience of using ICT in dementia support.

There are nine useful sections on the web-based tool, ranging from getting the right kit through to using ICT in reminiscence and life story activities. For instance, the resource provides a table that suggests which types of equipment, such as laptop computers or games consoles, are best for use in the various different activities and the pros and cons of the various options.

SCIE's Workforce Director Stephen Goulder says:

For care staff and people with dementia, this guide is invaluable. So much can be achieved these days with computers and ICT. However, some may feel that, because they're not at a desk very often, then ICT is for others to use. The new guide shows how someone with dementia can be supported to use computers for meaningful activities. Whether it's playing a game on the internet, finding old songs or using ICT in group reminiscence sessions, computers can make a real difference to people's lives when living with dementia.

Example - Keeping in touch

One section looks at how people with dementia can use ICT to use email and internet phone services. This is great for people staying in contact with friends and relatives; pictures can be sent, the address book function means that addresses do not have to be remembered and people can use SKYPE and other systems to contact family all over the world. They can see the other person, as well as hear their voice. This can be great for communication with friends or family who are geographically far away. The section contains tips for successful communication and goes on to suggest how people can start using social media.

Other sections describe how the technology can help make existing activities easier and more interactive. The guide was compiled using information provided by organisations in the care sector which are already successfully using these technologies.

Research for the guide was carried out by the Institute for Employment Studies. Ben Hicks, who led the research for the guide says:

The most important thing is to use the technology as a tool to help with the sorts of activities you would normally be involved in. The ICT is there to make these activities easier, it's important that the technology should not be the focus or people can get worried.

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Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: media@scie.org.uk