With our Hertswise dementia hubs closed and face-to-face meetings limited, Bill and Mary were stuck with options on how to meet their friends.

When asked whether they were confident online, Mary laughed and said: “I’m not up on all this technology stuff.”

As meeting other people physically was most likely not an option, the Hertswise Team lent Bill and Mary a tablet, donated from Age UK Hertfordshire.

The team help them set up the tablet and downloaded apps such as Colouring by Numbers, Emails and Zoom. Getting the hang of it all was a bit tricky at first for them both, but with help from Hertswise they we soon able to join their local dementia hub virtually via Zoom.

Mary said: “It was really good being able to see other people’s faces, and Bill enjoyed having chats with another chap, which made a nice change.”

“It’s been great all round support, finding things out for me and regular calls to see if we are doing okay. It’s been great!”

Since her diagnosis of dementia, Heather & her husband Mick, have been attending their local Hertswise dementia hub in Bishops Stortford.

They both thoroughly enjoyed their time at the club, especially Heather as it gave her a chance to read which she loved.

Unfortunately the club had to close in March 2020 due to COVID-19, which lead to a decline of Heathers reading abilities. During a call with Mick, the Hertswise team suggested that they could source Heather a tablet, where an e-reader and talking libraries app could be downloaded.

The team helped Mick to set up the tablet in his name so that he could access that easily.

Mick said: “This has been brilliant! Not only for me but for Heather too – she can now listen to her books.”

“I can’t single one thing out. It’s been great all round support, finding things out for me and regular calls to see if we are doing okay. It’s been great!”

“I wouldn’t know what I would have done without Gill shopping for me during lockdown.”

Lockdown was a new experience for everyone, especially Jackie who had to rely on outside help for basic tasks such as food shopping.

Jackie, 78 years old, has been living with multiple health conditions such as Addison’s disease, Angina and diabetes for some time. She was able to have some form of control over these, but her life flipped upside down when she was in a car accident and injured her spine.

With support given to her by another Age UK Hertfordshire service (the Hospital & Community Navigation Service), she was referred to Hertswise. Jackie was in need of help with her food shopping and she was unable to leave her house as she had to shield – with help from Hertswise she was able to do that safely and with reduced anxiety about who would help her.

Jackie said:

“I am unable to walk far or lift anything and when the weather gets hotter the heat makes my Addison’s worse, meaning I need to take extra medication.”

“I don’t know what I would have done without Gill shopping, I eat healthily and don’t eat meat, and with diabetes I was able draw up my own list it was an absolute godsend I appreciate everything she does. Gill now knows exactly what I have every week and if I forget to put things on the list (which is frequently), she will buy it for me.”