YouTube is free and easy to use and offers endless choice so take a look at some of my suggestions and start surfing!
If you have access to a desktop computer, laptop, Ipad or tablet there are numerous ways to use them to have fun and learn, and there is no reason that someone living with any level of dementia shouldn't also benefit from this technology. I will look at Apps and other uses of technology another day but for now I am going to focus on using YouTube.
If you haven't come across YouTube before it is a video sharing website. Individuals and organisations post videos and anyone can watch them for free.
Reminiscence is a well researched approach that has beneficial effects for older people and especially those with dementia. Newer memories tend to be the first memories to be lost as the disease progresses so looking back at events from further in the past can be reassuring and comforting. How can you use YouTube for reminiscence? This is where a person centred approach is key. Focus on the individuals own interests, history and preferences.
- Did the person you are working with love Rock and Roll, Elvis or an opera you have never heard of? Did they used to roar with laughter at Only Fools and Horses or Monty Python? If you type any of these words into the search box on the YouTube website you will get a huge list of clips to watch.
- Newsworthy events from the past can also be good triggers for reminiscence. British Pathe has it's own YouTube channel where you can find newsreels on the Monarchy, Concorde's first flight, VE day celebrations and so much more.
- One of the most successful YouTube films that I have used was a compilation of babies laughing. A lady I worked with who was nearing the end of her journey with dementia was captivated with these films and would laugh and try to tickle the babies on the screen. This lady had also enjoyed spending times with dolls so it was a natural choice to show her these beautiful joyful babies. On seeing this lady laughing at the film other residents and staff also began laughing. The room lit up. Laughter is contagious!
- There are also a multitude of films about animals too, so a search for 'funny cats' or 'cute dogs' will give you a long list of choices.
- Are you doing an art project based on a famous artist? We did some work about the glass artist Chihuly and found a great short film about his installations. It adds a little extra to your project.
- If you are trying a new craft project there are countless tutorials on anything and everything you can imagine. Many of these tutorials are presented by children. I found this one was a refreshing choice of film type as the ladies I was working with enjoyed watching the children at work (and there are some funny bloopers at the end of this particular example!).
- The opportunity for learning from YouTube is extensive. Pick your subject and search. National Geographic has a great channel to explore.
- There is also a wealth of information if you want to learn about dementia yourself. I can highly recommend any of Teepa Snow's films, Alzheimers Society has a library of films on their channel as does Alzheimer Scotland. If you are looking for craft projects or cooking advice you can start your search on YouTube.
- I would always check films before you use or watch them with someone with dementia. Some videos are poor quality or there might be large subtitles that could be distracting, or even have unsuitable content slipped in.
- You will need an internet connection to access YouTube and its videos. There are apps and websites that enable you to download YouTube videos to watch offline. This contravenes YouTube's policies.
- It might sound obvious but if the person you are with has difficulty concentrating for long periods make sure you chose shorter films. When you search for videos on YouTube it lists the results. A black box is shown in the bottom right hand corner of each result showing the length of the film in hours:minutes so you can choose suitable videos.
- It helps to keep a collection of films that have been successful or you think might be nice to try. At the top of the YouTube website is a 'sign in' box. This will take you to either register for a Google account or Sign in if you already have one. Once you have an account you can set up playlists and save your chosen videos.
- Sometimes adverts or comments appear along the bottom of the screen when you are watching YouTube films. If you hover your mouse over the comment box a cross (x) should appear on the right which you can 'click' to remove the comment box.
- You can expand the box in which the film is showing to fill your comupter screen by clicking on the symbol at the bottom right hand corner of the video.
I would love to know about other uses for YouTube that you have found, or videos that you would like to share so please use the comments section below or the Anything But Bingo Facebook page.
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