11 responses to “Should all care homes provide internet access for residents?

  1. Internet acess in care homes benefit not only residents but their family who want to keep connected but find it difficult to visit.

  2. Internet access in care homes benefit not only the residents but their family too who want to keep connected but aren’t able to visit regularly.

  3. This type of access is a must for every generation. It’s the responsibility of the family to introduce older loved-ones to the information access and opportunity the internet provides. It’s time to get them a computer and internet access before they get to nursing homes and retirement communities. If we do that, then they will start demanding wi-fi access when they make their transition to their new homes.

  4. This is a very interesting question, Shirley. We did some Whose Shoes? workshops with older people living in ExtraCare and used discussion cards around use of computers and SKYPE. There was one shared computer with internet facilities, but at the time of the workshops, it was out-of action due to building work. Two residents had their own computers in their own flats – one was quite an expert, regularly using on-line facilities and producing a newsletter for fellow residents; one was just using hers to play Solitaire. The conversation quickly led to these two pairing up and who knows, perhaps a new friendship was born as so often happens through shared activities. The “solitaire lady” wanted to learn and the other lady was keen to share her skills and enthusiasm. Others were interested to know more.

    Very often people just need a nudge. Peer support is great and so is inter-generational learning, enabled through a bit of innovative thinking rather than necessarily vast sums of money. A school…- a residential care home …. a “help people get connected” project….. Huge benefits all round.
    Similarly, there are some interesting small providers out there. One that has taken my eye is: L4A – Learning 4th Age – they aim to “provide educational and learning services to frail elderly people who live in residential accommodation settings” and this has certainly included use of I.T.

    Initiatives such as Martha Lane Fox’s “Race Online 2012 challenge” , encouraging people to and pass on their skills to those who aren’t yet online will slowly make a difference. I liked the recent ‘Give an Hour’ project when the clocks went back. This thinking needs to be brought into everyday life so that everyone can enjoy the connectivity of the internet – or at least have the chance to understand what they are missing!

  5. ermintrude2

    I worked in a care home just over 10 years ago and we had internet access at that time (donated by a family member). It seems incredible that with the advances in technology that this question even needs to be asked. There are so many more accessible means of engaging with technology now through more intuitive tablets. We have personalised TV screens on the back of airline seats for 5 hour journeys and yet in residential homes we see older adults sitting around the same television programme and radio programme.
    There is massive scope for really improving the quality of life – not just through interaction but through different entertainment systems in residential care. The reason it isn’t done? Ageism and money.

  6. I think care homes should provide Internet access for residents. We all like to use whatever means we can to keep in touch with people who are special to us. Using Skype and the ability to see your special person talking whilst you are talking to them can only be good. For those with a mental impairment, it could improve the ability to connect with familiar faces hence generating memories and comprehension. It could also be used by Social Worker’s during MCA or indeed during any part of the assessment. More and more older people are living in a different town or city to their immediate families and they can’t always make it to meetings in person, but could do using IT methods. Caring for older people in care could be improved so much with such a simple piece of equipment! It’s the obvious gap in the Personalisation agenda…Yes I think they should ALL provide Internet access…

  7. I’m the Founder of an initiative called Help From Home http://helpfromhome.org/, which encourages people to participate in microvolunteering. Most microvolunteering actions can be completed in under 30 minutes and online.

    One of our projects is called ‘Help From Seniors’ and is actively promoting senior citizens to use the internet more, from a volunteering point of view. We’re in the process of contacting care homes and senior citizen environments to encourage them to consider using the internet in a more meaningful way. Even if they don’t have internet, it’s all still useful as it generally makes people think about what can actually be achieved online. This in turn may eventually lead them to getting the internet at some point in the future.

  8. “The biggest increase in internet use since 2005 can be seen in the 70-75 year-old age group. While just over one-fourth (26%) of 70-75 year olds were online in 2005, 45% of that age group is currently [2009] online.” (Source: Pew Internet Project, 2009. http://opendna.com/8/25)

    The stereotype of the elderly not knowing how to use computers was always suspect (my GI-generation grandfather had an Osbourne 1!!) but it gets more ridiculous by the day. If moving into a care home means giving up Internet access, it will increasingly mean a greater sense of isolation than it did in the past.

  9. My 90 year old mother (living in her own home) uses her computer every day to:
    1 Read emails including jokes forwarded by family and friends.
    2 Do online jigsaw puzzles.
    3 Do online (and offline) crossword puzzles.
    4. Play card games before bed to “settle my mind”
    5. Skype with family in far away places. Skype enables her to keep in touch with her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
    She also is social within her neighbourhood and the community, although her body is becoming increasingly frail.
    I feel that the computer is keeping her going, and is very good for her socially and cognitively.
    It takes friends and family to set older people up with the right resources.
    The down-side is that when she sees me (working) on the computer, she thinks I am “playing” (joke :-))

  10. According to the website carehome.co.uk there are 2845 care homes with internet access

  11. Pingback: The Reading Room | Access Magazine

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