Mary Baker founder of DropBy
Social Networking and the over 60s may sound an unusual combination. However, the latest Nielsen research finds that overall membership of existing social network sites has grown significantly between 2009 and 2011 and that use by older people has grown more than twice as fast.
DropBy is a social website for the over 60s to keep in touch with family, friends and interest groups. DropBy is very much part of the Big Society and is an enabling force for family and community communications. In the longer term it could become a life-line for those who live alone or who feel isolated.
The website provides a safe hub for older people to communicate and interact with their families and friends even if they cannot leave the house. It is also proving to be a friendly place where carers can share their frustrations and make new friends.
DropBy is finding support within care homes where residents can see and keep in touch with their children and grand children who are unable to visit. Relatives can ‘pop in’ via the video link for a frequent chat. “Seeing the residents’ faces when their family appears on the screen is just fantastic” said one care home worker.
While DropBy has all the usual functionality of a social networking site, such as online chat and instant messaging, hosts pictures, videos and music, it also has an easy-to-use video link. The website has a fun side to it with a Games Room, an online Rant room and blogs. One important feature is the Medicine Room, where details of medications taken can be entered. The member receives an automatic reminder detailing when and how to take their medicines. The next step is to send a message to the user’s landline, reminding them that it is time to take their medication. DropBy is is a friendly online community where, instead of the ‘poke’ you get on Facebook, you send and receive a ‘wave’.
Using technology that is already available but presenting it in a user-friendly and safe environment is the challenge. There are many health and well-being additions which the creators want to add to the site. These include features which will sustain independent living at home. Now DropBy are looking for the right support and partners in order to achieve their vision.
The creators of the website are happy to help you find your way around – just DropBy! www.DropBy.co.uk
Membership is free and privacy and security are a priority.
Tags: DropBy, online communities, social care, social media