Care home residents take to the internet

Balmedie House manager Ann Reid listens as Duncan Evans gets in tune in The Silver Surfers.
Balmedie House manager Ann Reid listens as Duncan Evans gets in tune in The Silver Surfers.

A group of residents at an Aberdeenshire care home are using technology to boost their quality of life.

They regularly use a converted room at Balmedie House to develop their computer skills.

Duncan Evans links up for a fiddle duet wiith his brother in Canada.

Duncan Evans links up for a fiddle duet wiith his brother in Canada.

And one resident, Duncan Evans, who has just celebrated his 93rd birthday, used Skype for a violin duet with his 90-year-old brother in Canada.

The room has been called The Silver Surfers and has four computers set up with internet access.

Home manager Ann Reid said: “Duncan and his brother hadn’t seen each other for many years. Growing up they played the violin and on a Sunday evening they would entertain their family.

“Despite a seven-hour time difference, using Skype we were able to capture an amazing moment as they both faced each other, tucked their violins under their chins, glancing over their glasses at each other.

Those few precious minutes they spent together would never have happened without technology

Ann Reid Balmedie House manager

“You could see a tear run down their faces as they began to play together. This was a special moment as a few weeks later Duncan’s brother died.

“Those few precious minutes they spent together would never have happened without technology.”

During Duncan’s recent birthday party he was joined on Skype by his daughter Jean, who lives in Brunei. She is also a fiddle player and they shared a few tunes.

Ann added: “Having this facility has brought pleasure to so many people here. Residents and their families have been able to maintain relationships, review meetings have taken place and one resident was even able to watch his granddaughter prepare for her wedding day.

Balmedie House, which has 31 occupants, many with dementia, started a new project this year involving residents, families and staff.

Another room in the home has been converted with a woodland theme.

As people with dementia can find communal living difficult, the sensory room - as it has been named - provides a tranquil atmosphere with soothing background sounds of singing birds and a waterfall feature.

The floor has been covered with artifical grass.