Care assistant Lucy Eubank works with resident Jean Armstrong on her Book of You
A simple life story app that has helped families at MHA care homes and retirement living schemes stay connected during lockdown is now helping build face-to-face relationships as homes start to open up for visits once more.
Book of You is a reminiscence tool for people living with dementia and uses words, pictures, music and film to create a biographical digital portrait of an individual.
Methodist Homes (MHA) has been trialling the app at six locations to help build a story of a resident’s life, filled with life events and memories.
Families are able to add video and audio messages to the app, which have then been played to residents during lockdown, helping them stay connected with familiar faces and voices.
Now the app is helping families re-connect as socially-distanced outdoor visits have started at MHA’s homes and schemes as they chat face-to-face about the memories.
David Moore, MHA’s dementia lead, said: “Book of You was a fantastic tool before Covid-19, but it has become a real lifesaver for us since the virus struck.
“Lockdown created a lot of anxiety for residents, their loved ones and carers. Families are desperately worried about how their loved one will cope, whether isolation will hasten their decline, and whether they will still be recognised by the time they are allowed to visit again.
“The app has kept those crucial memories, connections and relationships alive and now they are able to talk about them face-to-face during visits.
“Our carers enjoy using it. It helps them to understand the rich, varied and wonderful lives lived by the people they are caring for. It brings people closer together and can help us improve how we care, because we understand who we’re caring for so much better.”
Nicola Ugurbascicek, manager at MHA Aughton Park care home where it has been on trial, said: “Book of You has really helped our residents stay connected with their relatives and friends.
“Memories are captured and our staff were able to sit with residents and go through the app, prompting conversations. Now outdoor visits are happening again, we can use the app to enable connections to be strengthened once again between residents and relatives.”