Edinburgh care home residents conquering technology fears with plant identifying app

Residents of an Edinburgh care home building confidence using technology with plant identifying app

Monday, 28th September 2020, 12:30 pm
James McDiarmid has been working to help older residents get comfortable with tech, including by encouraging them to use an app to identify plants and flowers in the care home's extensive gardens

Older people living in a luxury Edinburgh care home who have been perplexed by technology during lockdown are now being given extra help to conquer their fears using an app which identifies flowers.

As visits to care homes could not be made during lockdown, those living at Cramond Residence were encouraged to use tablets to keep in touch with their loved ones.

However, some residents were left baffled or intimidated by the modern technology, posing the challenge for staff to find ways of making it more accessible for an older generation.

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The team has hit on the idea of using residents’ love of the home’s beautiful gardens to demystify the technology by showing them how to use an app called [email protected]

James McDiarmid, a lifestyle coordinator at the 74-room, luxury care home, said: “A handful of our residents are very comfortable with tech, but most of them are a bit intimidated by it. That became really apparent during early lockdown.

“We used tablets to keep residents in touch with their friends and families. While they loved the way it kept them connected, many of them needed a lot of support to use the tech. That started us thinking about ways to get them more comfortable with tech.

“We have beautiful gardens here, which the residents love. They’re always asking what the various plants and flowers are. However, because we are so new, none of the plants are labelled, so we can’t usually answer.

“Now we are loading up our tablets with the [email protected] app and we’re going to help the residents to use that to identify various plants. As well as getting them more comfortable using the technology, we’ll also make labels so that future residents will always be able to identify what grows in our gardens.”

The app, which is a citizen science project which identifies plants from photographs, was recommended to James by a friend who is an enthusiastic amateur botanist.

He added: “It works a treat and is very straightforward. We know they are fascinated by the possibilities, we just have to help them overcome their fears.”

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