Affirming Stories

Domains of Wellbeing:

Being able to remain connected to family is the number one need expressed by older clients at the first meeting. Being connected to the community is also important: read our connection stories Older people often have lots of time on their hands with little to do. ICT provides many ways that isolated people can do something meaningful and rewarding with this time: read our occupation stories Independence is important to older people. Many struggled to deal with the increasing and confusing array of services that impact their lives such as banking and social security. read our independence story
“You are never too old to learn” is a well known saying and these days, learning often requires access to the internet. read our personal development stories Top of the list of things older people want to do with the remaining years of their lives is just to have fun: read our enjoyment stories

Connection

 George was a mentally alert man in his mid-eighties who had multiple health issues. These became so severe that he had been forced to move from an independent self-care arrangement into secured high-care.george Unlike George, all the other high-care residents had varying degrees of dementia.After just weeks in this unit, George contacted us to say that he was becoming increasingly depressed at having no one with whom he could carry on a normal conversation. Living Connected lent him a laptop and Wi-Fi dongle and with a few lessons George learnt the basics of email. His wish was to re –establish connections with his interstate daughter with whom he had become estranged some time previously.  Email communication enabled George and his daughter to communicate in a way that helped them to sort out the difficulties that arose when they tried to converse by phone. Before George died he was able to ensure that his daughter would be well provided for. We could see how much this had meant to him


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Sandy and Mark have just had their first child, a little girl who will be just starting to crawl by Christmas.  Sandy’s Dad is in the UK and although she gave him an iPad with Skype last time she visited, he has never got it to work.  We suggest that Sandy now contact someone they know in the UK to give him some help with his iPad so that he can use Skype to see his new granddaughter.  Sandy’s Dad is now motivated to connect with the family via Skype at Christmas to join them for his granddaughter’s first Christmas.

Occupation

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hhlaptopAnother motive for many people to develop some computer skills is to create their family tree.  Using freely available online resources such as the National Library’s Trove allows many of our clients’ spend their time researching their family history often with surprising results.  For example, when I first found out how to search the Trove collection of old newspapers, I was delighted by the first entry I found: the announcement of my birth.

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Jenny lives at home with her husband Jim who has advanced dementia. Jim shadows her around making it difficult for her to do things about the house.  While showing her how she could use an old desktop computer to work from home, Jim hovered around.  Jenny and I started playing Patience and Jim wanted to have a turn. Jim has now learnt to switch on the computer and get started on his own. He sits there and plays for hours, often laughing to himself when he wins. His wife is delighted as she can now do other things around the home uninterrupted. She believes that this activity provides some stimulation for his brain and may slow the progression of his disease


tedA popular activity is to use a word processor to write stories both fiction and non-fiction. Some older people publish their efforts online. Ted is 98 and has great stories to tell of his life as a mechanic in the Airforce during the World War II.  Although he tires after an hour or so and sometimes needs help with version control, Ted now has a collection of stories of his life that he can pass on to his descendants

Independence

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Frank lives at home but has limited mobility and needs a wheelchair to get around. He is very computer savvy with up-to-date equipment and good Internet access. He does not go out much but attends the local Senior Computer Club (SCC) meetings when transport is provided. Frank is happy to give advice to people he meets at the SCC on computer issues. He has set up a Facebook group where those in the club can ask for help online. When asked how they all coped when a severe storm had closed down local transport and other facilities club members said that they all kept in touch on Facebook and made sure everyone was OK. This way a whole community of older citizens has developed a degree of self-sufficiency and belonging.


uowvalJen left all financial matters to her husband who died recently. She does not have any close family or friends that she can really trust to manage her affairs. With our help, Jen has now learnt to do many of the things that worried her online, checking her bank account, paying bills and doing other transactions. She has recently discovered to how to sell off all the furniture she had in storage using Gumtree and is now ready to do all her shopping online.

Personal Development

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Heather and Rene come to the weekly classes we run in their residential care recreation room. . When we asked then what they would most like to do they said they would like to learn more about ancient history.  We showed them how to access open, online courses (MOOCs).  They have now worked together through several MOOCs and are now quite knowledgeable historians.


helen-hasan-stb Many older people write very well and with some basic instructions learn to use a work processor. When writing, they also need access to other information to integrate into their writing.  John used very early computers before he retired from work. John was not attracted by the iPad he was offered but now uses an old laptop to write his memoirs. They are fascinating reading. As John’s memoirs progressed he realized he needed information about the places and events that he wanted to write about as he has trouble remembering details. John is now connected to the Internet and has learnt to surf the web to find the material he wants.

Enjoyment

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helen-hasan-pdj_-11-07-16-002-1024x637Entertainment is provided for residents in aged care but there is not a great deal of variety. Residents argue about which channel to watch on the community TV or which movies to show. Access to streamed entertainment such as iView on individual devices gets around this limitation and provides access to many forms of entertainment.


Wendy lives alone and was given an iPad with a sim card by her family for Christmas.  At first she was not interested in learning to use it. When we asked her what she can no longer do that she once enjoyed she said she wanted to travel the ipad-engage_500x300world was no longer able to do so. We showed her she could travel virtually by surfing the web. We found a virtual tour of the Louvre which really sparked her interest.  Wendy soon learnt to surf on her own, “visiting” sites all over the world, “taking tours” of well-known museums and using Google Earth to “sightsee”. Each time the family visit Wendy tells them of her tours of towns, museums, historic sites and gardens all over the world.