Finalist category: BT Connected Society Award
Connected Society Award, Finalist, 2018
Easy digital social access for older people and those with cognitive disabilities.
Always In Mind is a website that provides easy to access for elderly people and others with cognitive disabilities to the shared digital content of friends and relatives on social networks such as Google Photos, YouTube, Gmail and Facebook.
Some people find it difficult or daunting to engage in everyday digital activities, especially when faced with complex or confusing technology. As a result, people with dementia, learning disabilities or following a stroke may find it difficult to join in with the daily digital interactions of their family and friends. Always in Mind helps overcome this barrier by providing simplified, friendly and safe access to the digital photos, videos, websites and communications that we use daily.
Specifically designed to be simple and non intimidating for anyone with low digital literacy, the site encourages engagement with distant friends and in turn, provides peace of mind that their loved one is being kept up to date with selected shared content. In an age where older people are increasingly isolated, and many may be unsure or suspicious of technology, it is an accessible way to introduce them to the social benefits the internet can bring.
Integrating with existing social media networks and digital tools, the website can be accessed on a range of different devices and no software need be downloaded. It is also provided on an open source basis so that others can add their ideas and improve as times goes on.
Key features include:
- Easy to use touch buttons with clear text and pictures
- Built in speech or text reminders of what to do
- Options for personalised preferences
- Safety features to ensure connections are restricted to those you trust
- Hooks into existing services, not a walled garden
- Affordable subscription rates and easy cancellation
Benefits are to both the end user and their relative or friend who is able to easily set them up to stay in contact. They gain peace of mind about their loved-one’s health and wellbeing, through regular, broader and deeper engagement. In turn, the person feels less isolated, gains confidence and enjoys accessible and meaningful interactions with others.
At present, Open Directive Ltd – who is developing the site, is starting to research customer requirements through interviews, demos and collaborations. Partnerships have been formed with a hardware supplier and local elderly charity. A usable technical protoype is available at and they plan to partner with a care provider to trial and launch the service this year. Alongside the technical development, plans are being made to develop the team with business and marketing skills and collaboration opportunities are being considered.
So far, the team have had good success with getting older users to accept and enjoy digital access. Continuing forward, they believe their service will meet a number of critical and growing needs for elderly people in a way that has not yet been achieved.