A SOCIAL website for elderly people, aimed at combating loneliness, has been developed by a woman with a passion for new technology.
DropBy is a networking site for the over-60s, which combines online chat, instant messaging and video links for people who are isolated or housebound.
The site is the brainchild of Godalming resident Mary Baker and offers a safe hub for elderly people to communicate and interact, even if they cannot – or will not – leave the house.
Mary has big plans for incorporating technology into the site, making it more user-friendly for a generation for whom the internet is completely new.
“The big thing is that someone who lives in a care home and isn’t really very well, who hasn’t seen their relatives for a long time, can use the site to talk to them via a webcam.
“Seeing their faces when their family appears on the screen is just fantastic,” she said.
One feature is the Medicine Room, where a registered user can enter details of medications they take and receive automatic reminders of when to take them.
“The next step is to get a ghost message which goes to the user’s landline, reminding them it’s time to take their medication,” Mary said.
“That’s all technologically possible already, it’s now just a case of working with people who can help me develop it and getting the funding to keep it going.”
She has been working with residents at Eastlake Care Home in Godalming.
“It’s difficult to get funding when it’s just me working on it in Godalming. I just need to prove that it works here, which I know I can because I have seen it working.
“A lot of the technology already exists,” she added. “I have discovered a little box you can buy that will enable users to find the website on the TV, without having to use a computer.”
Mary, who gave up her part-time job as a business and marketing consultant to focus on DropBy, hopes the site will continue to grow.
More than 100 members have already signed up, linking care home residents and individuals with their families and with each other.
“Facebook and Twitter are for the young, DropBy is for older people,” said Mary. “It’s very friendly. Instead of a ‘poke’ like you get on Facebook, on DropBy you get a ‘wave’.
To contact Mary or
register with the website, go to www.dropby.co.uk.
By Amy Taylor
May 13, 2011
Thanks so much Amy