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Social connectivity through photo chat

Image based communication to enhance both the carer’s and the sufferer's day-to-day experience of connection with their family and friends.

Photo of Jim Holt
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it better support family caregivers as they care for a loved one with dementia?

This is aimed at the entire family and friends network of a dementia sufferer, which in this case is my mother. And by connecting as a network we provide support to her, her caregiver (my father) and in turn to each other.

Angela, my mother has suffered from dementia for several years and experiences varying amounts of difficulty expressing herself verbally and in writing. I live 3 hours away from Angela, and we rely upon voice/video calls to remain in contact between my monthly visits.

Owing to Angela’s impairment our voice/video calls are often confused, difficult and short-lived. My father, Keith, who is Angela’s carer, acts as the main communications hub between my her and myself and also my two brothers, her sister and her few friends.

I think about Angela and Keith far more frequently than I speak with them, as with many other of my family and friends. Like many others, I use digital photography on a daily basis as a means of self expression and communication.

I’m going to create a network of photo frames (cheaply obtained used iPads) situated in my mother’s, brothers and aunt’s homes, connected to the internet, and able to display photos in realtime as they are added. Everyone in the network will be able to add photos, within a frictionless environment, using images as a language and means of connection.

Angela shows growing confusion and disinterest in her digital camera, and growing interest in my iPhone. It offers a much more intuitive interface which appears to appeal to her greatly, as it works very simply and directly. By appropriately hacking an old iPhone I will provide my mother with a simple means of capturing moments and expressing them to her family.

This project is part of a wider strategy I’m developing with my family to re-connect us all, in support of both my mother and my father, her carer. I’ve come to realise that support which is offered to either of them, benefits them both.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Obtain used iPads or borrow some, hack a photo feed solution together and test it out with my family.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Beta testers! Iterators! Supplies of cheap used iPads in UK. How to cross-breed services such as triggers and schedulers with software service APIs from Dropbox, Facebook and Instagram to create frictionless interactions and uploads. Any information and leads on similar existing services. Let's not reinvent the wheel – let's collaborate instead!

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Tell us about your work experience:

Son of a dementia sufferer, using empathy, awareness, love and design to help her and my family. Otherwise I'm into branding+digital, creative+strategy, for clients who care. Co-founder of an experimental co-living community in London and design-for-good community in NYC.

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