Getting some perspex (tive)

Some people say they can’t stand computers…

…but people in Hesters Way Library have helped come up with a low-tech solution to this issue. A group of 14 people in a pilot session there were enjoying using the House of Memories technology: the app was doing its job and sparking memories and lively conversations.

Hesters way library

Hesters Way Library

However some people found it tiring to explore the photographs and films because of the weight of the iPads we use. Librarians to the rescue! It turns out that Perspex book stands are just right for this job.

Perspex book stand

The EVOkE reminiscence pilot sessions are now underway and I’ve been lucky enough to be meeting people in libraries and community hubs all over the county. At the beginning of the first ever session I asked people how they felt about using technology:

My son calls me the techno-dodo...’

seemed to sum up the feelings of many people in the group. I felt a bit nervous as I handed out the 6 iPads, giving a quick explanation of how to use the House of Memories app, and stood by while people experimented. Minutes later, I was hearing stories about tin baths, good dancers (and kissers), powdered egg and lots more besides. People who got to grips with it quickly started to show other people how it works. And people who didn’t know each other beforehand found they had something in common. Some people in the group were living with dementia, and some were not, but all of us were enjoying spending time communicating with other people.

The app is designed to be fun, sociable, meaningful and accessible. It wouldn’t work at all without the warm and relaxed atmosphere already generated by staff and volunteers at the library – or the ‘appy customers willing to give it a go.

We are now arranging groups throughout Gloucestershire – if you’re interested in arranging a session, or finding out more, please get in touch. (There’s no charge for taking part.)

Kate O’Keefe

Engagement Manager for Older People

kate.okeefe@gloucestershire.gov.uk

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