Digital is an umbrella component which runs throughout this Neighbourhood Action Plan. Some OCN participants embraced technology and promoted it amongst their peers. Others experienced barriers to using it. Digital technology plays an increasingly important role in people staying connected. During the pandemic, neighbourhoods are being connected through mutual aid social media groups. Dementia support groups have moved to on line using Zoom and other platforms to meet up. Care homes have been experimenting with virtual reality headsets as ways to relax residents.
The digital strand established working relationships with Stirling Libraries. Involving members of the public, care homes and dementia organisations, one aim was to examine how libraries and similar public venues can be involved in creating inclusive public venues for people living with dementia.
We investigated what social media and online tools are available and what people are currently using, then shared our learning through OCN’s regular 5 bullet Friday newsletter and direct feedback to the library network.
To achieve this we designed and delivered 5 digital drop-in information and awareness-raising ‘Digital Connections’ sessions across Stirling. This included: Gathering and disseminating recommendations for ‘memory helpful’ phone apps and exploring with participants how Wi-Fi and technology can assist memory; At our Bannockburn event we had visits from OCN participants, the Bannockburn based Buttercup Community Café volunteers and a staff member from Fairview care home. Alzheimer Scotland were also in attendance.
The sessions provided an opportunity for people with dementia to share their perspectives and we also strengthened partnership working between providers. To avoid segregation the sessions were specifically marketed to appeal to a range of people in the community who were interested in learning more about digital technology and who may or may not identify as having memory difficulties or dementia. This resulted in sessions with lots of opportunity to raise awareness of dementia in local communities, connect people, develop joint working and raise the profile and the work of OCN. The sessions created an opportunity for OCN staff to speak to the library staff and members of the public about people living with dementia and to raise awareness and hear people’s experiences at a local neighbourhood level. For some sessions we were joined by the Digital Inclusion Officer for Stirling Council’s Housing and the Digital Inclusion Officer for Stirling Council Library Services.
- When we think about using digital technology we also have to think about safety, especially, for example, during video calling as we are inviting people into our homes and personal space.
- Online video calling might not work for everyone.
- Look through the OCN digital resources for ideas and information on digital technology that might be helpful.
- Some councils have digital technology programmes providing free equipment such as call guardian answer phones, a plug in answer phone that can help to combat nuisance and fraud cold calling.
OCN has developed a tool to support a conversation about assessing the level of digital engagement in our neighbourhood. This includes prompts and space for reflecting on our priorities as a group.
We also have support guides have been created during the course of the OCN projects. They include support on how to install apps, access emails, keep in contact, and use technology to make everyday life easier.