Have you ever had a moment, when using your phone or computer or tablet, when you’ve done something and thought: Wow! How did I do that before having this technology? These days, technology is everywhere – in our cars, at our gyms, even at our favorite fast-food restaurants. The biggest reason technology has been adapted in so many aspects of our lives is due to touch-screen technology.
“Touch-screen technologies work because they’re intuitive enough for everyone to use, even small babies or very old adults,” says Winsome McLeod, Executive Director at YourLife™ of Stuart, a new Memory care community in Stuart, FL. “They’re easy to switch on, easy to navigate, and there are a variety of apps that can be used for everything from gaming to communication and more.”
One of the biggest issues affecting caregivers of individuals with dementia is finding activities and entertainment that they can participate in. Because Alzheimer’s and other forms of memory impairment affect all of our senses, it can be difficult to find stimulating and meaningful opportunities that can be enjoyed by people in all stages of memory loss.
“Interactive screens can literally provide games, education, entertainment and family connection at our residents’ fingertips,” says McLeod. “These days, technology and apps are incredibly immersive, meaning they can appeal to our residents’ senses of touch, vision and hearing. There are interactive apps that can also prompt seniors to do things like sing or move.”
At YourLife™ of Stuart, Memory Care residents have the benefit of touch-screen televisions, which are much larger than computers or tablets, so images can be as large as needed. They are also mounted on rolling stations that can be moved easily, so the technology can go to the resident instead of the other way around. The volume on a TV goes higher than on smaller media, which makes them better for those with hearing loss.
“Touch-screen technology requires only one finger to control movement, so even people with shaky hands or problems with dexterity can easily interact with the programs,” says McLeod. “I’ve seen residents who’ve had very limited computer experience start playing games almost immediately because they’re so easy to use.”
The touch-screen TVs at YourLife™ of Stuart can be used individually or in a group setting with a small number of Memory Care residents. Some of the apps that residents can use are games like “Wheel of Fortune,” “Word Jumble,” “Jeopardy” or “Spot the Difference.” Another great use of touch-screen TVs is to watch videos on YouTube. By knowing each resident’s history, hobbies, likes and dislikes, staff members can help find suitable programs or videos, and residents can be involved and engaged.
“The preferences of our Memory Care residents, whether it’s through the videos they watch or the games they want to play, give us a greater understanding of who they are,” says McLeod. “They’re a great way to encourage discussion and communication, especially when family members come to visit and want to interact with their loved ones. Being able to play a game, or put a virtual puzzle together, or simply watch an entertaining video can help encourage that relationship and build fond memories.”
Besides providing something to do, the touch-screen televisions also provide opportunities for creation. Through apps like Life Journal, staff and family members can encourage seniors with memory issues to reminisce about their pasts. It also allows users to record a life history that can be saved for posterity. Touch-screen technology can also be integrated into a personalized care program to help make decisions (such as what the resident wants to eat on that particular day), to stimulate memories or to create positive emotions, such as playing music from the residents’ childhood or video clips of favorite movies.
Studies have shown that engaging in touch-screen technology fosters a sense of pride and confidence in Memory Care patients, which leads to a reduction in depression, anxiety and anger, and increases interaction between residents, family members and staff. The new learning opportunities the technology provides has a positive impact on our residents’ overall quality of life as well.
Of course, no discussion about technology would be complete without discussing the social aspect. Applications like Skype or FaceTime enable residents and their families to communicate instantly, even if they live far from one another. For individuals living in the later stages of dementia, this can be quite a gift, as they’re able to connect to their loved ones when moments of clarity occur.
Staff members at YourLife™ of Stuart stay up to date on the latest developments in this technology and are also trained to help answer residents’ questions, assist in setting up games or activities and motivate residents to try new programs or tasks that they may be uncomfortable to do with their own. Because those with dementia may not always remember the steps to operating the touch-screens, having a trusted guide there to remind them can help residents progress, overcome hurdles and gain a sense of accomplishment. Oftentimes, staff members will stay close by a resident to offer immediate assistance if they forget what to do next or accidentally tap out of a game or onto an in-app advertisement.
Apps and programs are already being developed for further assistance in Memory Care treatment. Touch-screens are being used for rehabilitation and recall. As the technology is refined and becomes more affordable and even easier to use, it’s expected that it will continue to play an increasingly significant part in the treatment of Memory Care residents. You can be sure that YourLife™ of Stuart will continue to monitor developments and make adjustments to our touch-screen televisions and technology in order to continue to improve and elevate our care so our residents can live the most fulfilling lives possible.
At YourLife™ of Stuart, we invite you to live your life just as you chose. For more information, please contact our staff at 772-207-4191. We’d be delighted to see how our Memory Care community can cater to you or your loved one’s needs.
Designed for You. Defined by You.
YourLife™ of Stuart was created with one purpose – to provide the most exceptional memory care and uplifting lifestyle for our residents. As memory care specialists, we focus all our energy, attention and resources to creating a community that caters to each resident’s personal needs, respects their choices and honors individuality, while providing unequaled peace of mind and support for families.
Because memory care is our sole focus, we have the unique ability to design and personally tailor plans around our residents. We see each resident as an individual, understanding that everyone has their own story, specific needs and retained abilities. With that information, we develop personally inspired care plans that value and support each person’s independence.
Our team of attentive, caring YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists is on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide assistance with everyday activities, gentle reminders and redirection.
Through our signature programming, YourStory, we create an individual experience centered around each resident. From cultural, educational and health and wellness programming, scheduled outings and other special events to personal care, assistance and multiple therapies, we create days with meaning. At YourLife™ of Stuart, our residents and families know that this is a community designed for you, with a lifestyle defined by you. Contact us to learn more!