Talking openly is first step

Picture of couple of people walking on beach with Post It notes floating in air

Talking about what matters is actually the first step in making personalised telecare and independence work for anyone.

How to have an honest and open discussion is a problem though. There are two general methods, people and professionals use.

Just talking

Just talking about how things are and what needs to be done can lead to very unfocused and repeated chats which don't actually draw out useful information.


Checklists can work but they have two problems:-
  • Closed format
  • Powerlessness
However much a person with a checklist may try, they are providing a structure and format to the discussion in which they form the narrative and they hold a more powerful position than whomever they are talking to.

Spatial Mapping

I've been thinking about this problem for a while as we'll as reading a lot of cognitive theory on the importance of the Hippocampus in both spatial comprehension and long term memory.

It's this link between spatial mapping and memory that I think may help enable open yet meaningful discussions about practical and emotional matters.

Page describing how talking is first part of understanding needs and wants.

We experimented spatial mapping using tablecloths and drawing maps on them.
Now we use two main ways of doing spatial mapping.

Either on a tabletop and spreading out Post It notes with different ideas of needs and wants.

Or by sticking Post It notes around the house or appartment so as to mark out what matters and why.

Either approach works and they can be combined in the end: look around first then assemble the information on a table.

This open approach is about finding things that have emotional and specific value in life. It's very easy to miss the obvious and be unaware of the unusual with both chats and checklists.

Using an open ended mapping process allows people to work together to build up ideas.

If anything is missed, then it's easy to add it on later.

Image describing how technology can be adapted to needs and wants once identified

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