Latest technology is a tonic for Braintree residents

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Residents of two Braintree care homes are enjoying a new lease of life, thanks to a high-tech tablet.

The New Deanery and St Mary’s Court care homes have invested in the latest technology, purchasing a giant touch table computer on wheels to bring computer games, internet access, videos, music and memories to all residents.

Head of Activities at the homes, Jo Whitehouse, who won a national ‘Care Home Activity Organiser’ award earlier this year, explains: “As well as doing online puzzles and quizzes with groups in our activity room, the beauty of the tablet on wheels is that we can take it on a one-to-one basis to residents’ bedrooms. It means they can benefit even if they are unable or don’t wish to leave their rooms.

“It’s absolutely fabulous as some of our residents have never used a computer before and we’re using it to help them reminisce. One is a former speedway rider and we were able to find videos of him taking part, another grew up in a London pub which we were able to look up online. We also have a number of specially-designed apps which provide sensory stimulation for people living with dementia.”

Activity team member Debbie Davis added: “I’ve been using YouTube to call up structured seated exercise classes and we looked up Hollywood stars from the 1920s which sparked memories for some of our elderly residents. Another resident used to play Cribbage 40 years ago, and he’s been playing against the computer.

“But what has been really wonderful is one of our residents who doesn’t normally speak or leave his room was mesmerised by it and it has really helped us to engage with him. The brilliance of the tablet is that we can use it in such varied and completely spontaneous ways.”

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