£10,000 lottery grant to Hartlepool care home will help residents Skype relatives

Residents at a Hartlepool care home have been awarded £10,000 by the Big Lottery Fund for equipment and training to use tablet computers as part of their care and to communicate with friends and relatives..

Supported by creative ageing charity Equal Arts, the Queens Meadow Care Home in Hartlepool will provide residents with a range of creative activities using the new touchscreen tablets.

Liz Jones, customer relations officer at the operator, said: “Residents are really keen to be able to use this technology to Skype their grandchildren, make short films and stay up-to-date with current affairs.

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“Not only will this give residents increased communication and a range of meaningful activities it would also bring new experiences with technology and develop new skills.

“It has been reported, by Independent Age, that 70% of over 60s have never used the internet, which conflicts with residents’ desire to give it a go.”

Equal Arts’ artist Jane Scott will be running the creative sessions alongside projects which will see the home link up with pupils from Catcote Academy and the community.

She said: “Having this technology at their fingertips will provide residents with the opportunity to explore their creativity, but importantly allow them to share this with friends and family whether they live in the region or further afield.”

The year-long project will also support residents to retain their independence, choosing music and films, shopping online, creating photo albums and researching their family trees.

Based in Gateshead, the charity Equal Arts provides older people and those living with dementia with creative opportunities to help combat loneliness and improve wellbeing.

It works with artists in more than 20 care homes in the North East and trains care staff on the benefits creativity in care can have.

Julie Armstrong, Queens Meadow manager, added: “This project will reduce isolation and increase residents’ sense of being part of the community. One of their major desires is to continue learning, gaining skills and keeping up-to-date with real world event.”

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