Monthly Archives: May 2013

“How can we combat loneliness?” Mary Baker talks about the DropBy community

DropBy logoLaunched in 2010, DropBy supports a growing membership and has become a lively, fun, interactive online community in which the over 60s share their interests and experiences and support each other in their daily lives.

Mary Baker the founder is passionate about encouraging older people to have an  influential voice in improving services and she funded the development of DropBy from her own resources.

 DropBy is friendly, caring and supportive and every member is valued and encouraged to contribute. Membership is free and privacy and security are priorities.

 Mary, the founder, named Mary B on the site, says: “My hopes are that we can use existing technology to make living as we grow older easier, and that we help to end isolation. There really is no need for anyone not to be connected these days – it’s just a matter of finding the right approach.”

 “Like all communities we are the sum of our parts. Members find new friends, share ideas and interests, ask for help or advice, and find ways to give support to one another. Sometimes just to know there are others experiencing the same difficulties can be reassuring, and a few kind, supportive words can make all the difference. Members are not embarrassed to ask for help, and always give support wherever they can. It’s a give and take thing.”

DropBy provides online chat and instant messaging, hosts photos, videos and music, and has an easy-to-use video link. It is a safe hub for older people to communicate and interact with their families, friends and each other. The ultimate aim is to combat loneliness among older people and others who are isolated or housebound.

Some members will use the site to video link with their family and friends in distant places.  The dividing line between being alone and feeling lonely is a very narrow one. Sometimes it is good to know there are like-minded people available to chat with, who can be reached by clicking a few buttons. Mary has also been working with local care home to introduce residents to DropBy and the benefits of using the internet.

 The website has a fun side to it with a Games Room, forums and blogs and a Rant room where members share their frustrations, and receive friendly support and advice, but the focus is always on interaction. Do DropBy!


To contact DropBy:


Follow on Twitter @MaryBDropBy 

The new Disruptive Social Care podcast [video] is now online

We’re delighted to be back after our break, and even more delighted that this show has been crowd-funded.  As usual the show features regular presenters Stuart Arnott from Mindings and Shirley Ayres, bringing you news of innovations right across the care sector.

The audio podcast and extensive shownotes will be published on the Disruptive Social Care  site this weekend.

A big thanks to our show sponsors: – – – – –



Introducing the Care in the Digital Age programme

ImageThe Care in the Digital Age programme is designed to help your organization deliver more focused, cost effective services by showcasing digital technologies that offer new ways of supporting service users and carers.

The event presents digital technology solutions across a wide range from personal networks through to ‘keeping in touch’ systems and meal sharing initiatives. The emphasis is on technologies that promote independence, diminish social isolation and address the issue of digital exclusion amongst disadvantaged groups. It draws on our experience of the availability, impact and of web and app based systems in the sector (as detailed in our click guide to digital technology in adult social care and in the Provocation Paper Can online innovations enhance social care? published by the Nominet Trust).

The programme consists of a one day event aimed at people involved in health, social services, housing, education, economic regeneration and the police, and encourages participation from carers, service users and their representatives. As a follow-up, we can work with community builders and connectors to explore how these innovations can be embedded and supported through the development of local hubs.

Kent  Care in the Digital Age  takes place on Friday 12th July. The event is fully booked but you can follow the discussion on Twitter using the hastag #kentdigicare

We may be coming to your locality because we are now in discussion with a number of other local authorities, Health and Wellbeing Boards, housing associations and community groups to deliver the Care in the Digital Age programme across the UK.

If you would like to find out more I would be very happy to talk to you!


The fringe benefits of failure and the Importance of Imagination

The fringe benefits of failure and the Importance of Imagination

A truly inspiring Harvard Commencement Address by author J.K. Rowling (with video and transcript).

Somehow, we have developed a culture that is gripped by the fear of failure. Now is the time to change and to make things happen differently.

“Do not wait for leaders, do it alone, person to person.” ~ Mother Teresa

“The insurmountable difficulties of today are the solved problems of tomorrow.” ~ Cardinal Heenan