by Gabriela Matic
If you type “Why technology…” into google, the first search suggestion that comes up is “Why technology is bad”. Funnily enough … The same happens if you google alcohol or drugs. If you consider that and the fact that iPads and Apps are a rather new thing (the first iPads and tablets were released in 2010) it doesn’t come as a surprise that especially older generations are not the biggest fans of some of the “fancy” new gadgets.
Don’t get me wrong, I know as well as everyone else that technology can be bad, but I also firmly believe that it can strongly benefit people; especially elderly people and people with dementia. Not only are they given the chance to be part of this new digital and connected world, they are also encouraged to try new meaningful activities, stay independent and improve their self-management skills. This is equally beneficial for caregivers, whether they care for someone professionally or privately. And guess what, technology can save a lot of money as well. Care homes, whose budgets are one of their biggest concerns, could replace reminiscence photo cards (which get lost and ripped easily and often cost up to 40 pounds per pack) with a digital photo book. That way they can always provide their residents with new and fun material.
And guess what, technology can save a lot of money as well.
Just recently, we were also asked to sign up for the Technology Charter for People with Dementia in Scotland. We didn’t hesitate for a second as the values and principles of the charter strongly represent our own vision, in the short and long term. They also align with the principles we are building our app on. The Charter has been written in partnership with people living with dementia to drive change and to raise public and professional awareness of how technology can make a difference to the lives of those living with dementia. Everyone should know about the positive benefits of technology and how it can make a difference. Find out more about the Charter and how to sign up here.
I firmly believe that everyone should be aware of these principles and I beg whoever is thinking of going into this space, to not even get started if they don’t plan to consider them.
According to the charter, technology is definitely bad
if it replaces personal relationships and interactions;
if it discriminates against certain groups of people and is not accessible to everybody;
if it does not focus on user-friendliness;
if there are no instructions; and/or
if it has been created without considering the needs and wishes of the people who are actually supposed to use it.
This all should be obvious though, right? Unfortunately, we have seen more than one product and business that still gets this wrong. Without really thinking about it, we seem to have been following the right path while creating the MindMate App.
Oh, and by the way: The second thing coming up when you google “Why technology…” is “Why technology is good.” I think we have found a couple of answers to that now.