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Some Thoughts From How Do I? On #CarersWeek2018

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Carers Week is an annual campaign taking place this year from Monday 11th - Sunday 17th June. It gives individuals and organisations the opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges that carers face across the UK, whilst also celebrating the work of carers ensuring they receive the recognition they deserve. It is supported by eight charities including Age UK and Macmillan Cancer Support. Individuals and organisations can pledge their support by making donations and staging events in the community which can be added on the official Carers Week UK website https://www.carersweek.org/get-involved/events-near-you.

 

This years focus is to enable carers to ‘stay healthy and connected’ by informing people of the support and services that are available in their communities. Through offering physical, emotional and financial support to those who assist people with day to day living support services are encouraging areas to become ‘carer friendly communities’. An example of this is in my local area of Stockport, Greater Manchester, the charity Signpost offers advice and support to a small section of carers who make up the estimated 6.5 million that work in the UK.

 

As a result of the Care Act 2014, every carer has a legal entitlement to an assessment to promote a work-life balance as in some cases caring can be a 24 hour commitment. The aim of the legislation was to create an social care system that was fit for purpose to tackle the future challenges that carers face. Signpost recognises that organisations and services have a duty to promote positive wellbeing amongst carers in the community, by offering a ‘carers grant’ they provide financial support to those in caring roles to be able to spend time on leisure activities. Building communities that supports health and wellbeing of carers is the focus of #CarersWeek2018, the physical and emotional impact of caring for someone should not be underestimated.

 

At How Do I? we develop video led tools to support learning. We recently completed a Innovate UK Design Foundations project where we created solutions with the aim of assisting people with cognitive impairments such as Dementia. 

 

One area for development includes exploring how we can help create habits over a longer time period. Though the tech was well received, the Design Foundations funding was for a 6 month project. We're interested in looking at how we can test and trial our Video Calendar and Digital Cookbook prototype with users over several months and what impact they might have.

The early results of the work we've undertaken have been very promising. Following the prototyping and testing phase, we met with our prototyping participants to better understand how they interacted with the prototypes. Video proved to be a fun, engaging way of connecting people and providing a layer of support in their everyday lives. 

We are excited to be exploring opportunities for this kind of further testing and development. We're proud to have been shortlisted for two prestigious awards: the AAL Smart Ageing Prize and the Essex Challenge Dementia prize programme. 

To find out more about our work go to www.wearehowdoi.com/livingwell.

We would love to hear what you think about the pros and cons of Assistive Technology when it comes to caring.

Join the conversation by following the hashtag #CarersWeek2018 or drop us a line to learn about How Do I?’s work using Assistive Technology hello@wearehowdoi.com

Mel Barber - Digital Marketing and Project Assistant for How Do I? 

Taryl Law