Marian Parr is an 85 year old Grandmother of 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. She's from London, where she has lived for the last 60 years. In many ways, Marian is like any ordinary grandmother; she enjoys arranging flowers, she attends church every Sunday and like many in her generation, she rarely uses technology:
“I only really use my phone for emergencies. I do also send an occasional email, but not frequently.”
The reasons are quite simple; the screen on the phone is small, making it hard to see the contents of it. For many seniors, touch screens are hard to operate due to dry fingertips, and complicated user interfaces bring with them foreign elements like pop-ups, error messages and multiple logins. Having been born well before the age of social media, they are not digital natives.
Communication made simple
But through a family friend, Marian and her family heard about KOMP. A simple, one-button device that lets digital children and grandchildren share photos, messages and make video calls to their analogue grandparents. They signed up for the pilot scheme, and Marian became one of the first KOMP users in the UK, praising how easy it is to use.
“It’s a doddle, couldn’t be easier to use! It has been a lot more successful than other methods of communication, like email. My grandchildren can send me a quick message or share a photo as soon as they take it, which makes it much more efficient and easier than other forms of staying in touch.”
Give Grandma the lead role
Of course, KOMP doesn’t replace personal visits, but Marian says its a very good way of keeping in touch in between having her children and grandchildren over for a cup of tea, and when they come over, KOMP gives them more to talk about. When you sit at home and only have the TV and radio for entertainment, conversations tend to become a little one-sided, she says, before adding.
“Recently, my granddaughter was on holiday in Dubai, and she sent me one or two pictures a day. It changed the way we were able to talk to each other when she got home. She didn't just tell me about the trip, I was able to lead the conversation, and comment on what I had seen, too. It seems like a small thing, but it really made a difference.”
A social network centered around grandma
For her daughter, Janie, KOMP hasn’t only made it easier to contact her mother, it has made it easier to stay updated on what the rest of the family does too.
As well as being a device tailored for seniors, KOMP is an app that works as a closed and secure social network for invited family members. On average, 7 family members are connected to each KOMP, and any picture sent to KOMP is shown in the app for the other members.
“For me personally, it gives me a warm, happy feeling, knowing that my children are not only in regular contact with their grandmother, but are obviously thinking about her too. Sometimes, she will know things before I do, because of KOMP!”, Janie says.
Marian agrees, she loves knowing that her grandchildren are thinking of her, be it a picture of a place they visited together once, or an inside joke that made them think about her. Janie adds:
“It also has brought mum a feeling of freshness and happy anticipation of ‘who will I hear from today?’”