I am inspired to write this post because of a discussion with Computers4carers a small organisation with a big and simple vision to provide computers for carers. Chill4us is a not for profit organization who have been able to supply nearly 100 free laptops to carers through donations from individuals and organisations including Norfolk County Council and Virgin Money.
It occurs to me that this is one way to address the problem about the lack of information and support to help people plan for care and recognising the value of carers. I am just finishing a report which explores how service users and carers are using social media. There are so many online resources which support carers including forums and facebook groups.
“I use the internet to help me as a carer. I have researched and ordered specialist items not available locally. When my relative had to go into a care home, the internet was one of the first places I tried to see what was available. It’s also useful if you want to find out about benefits and to get advice from other carers.” from an online discussion with a carer
I agree with the Commission on Funding of Care and Support that urgent reform of the current social care system is needed. But I also think we need more joined up thinking about the resources available that can improve the quality of life for carers now.
If your organisation has a spare laptop in working order with at least Windows XP do contact Chill4us who will find a good home for it! A small investment for the community “social capital” provided by our 6 million plus carers.
I also recommend reading the informative Thrive and Survive report by Race Online 2012 which has great case studies, including Carers UK, and explores how the third sector is using digital technology and social media.