During this time of social isolation in all communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of technology-based tools is more important than ever to help seniors stay connected to the outside world. Implementation of iN2L, or It’s Never 2 Late, at The Preserve has done just that, in addition to other technological resources residents can benefit from, with the help of staff. For example, staff at The Preserve has started reading the “good news” section each day. The residents are all aware of what is happening with the global pandemic, so it’s nice to spend some time reading about all the great things that are going on in the world. It has become a part of the morning routine that the residents look forward to and even ask “is there any good news today?”
Founded in 1999, It’s Never 2 Late is dedicated to helping older adults experience the full benefits of adaptive technology. Using an exclusive interface that works with various hardware, software, media, adaptive components, and more, just about any person can engage successfully, regardless of physical or intellectual abilities. The idea of iN2L was born from the belief that computers should be user-friendly for all residents living in care centers. With accessibility to the Internet, email, exercise programs for the brain and the body, entertainment, Skype and so much more, the computer really provides unlimited possibilities.
The iN2L system is a picture-based, touch screen interface that allows users to simply tap the screen to move through the educational, spiritual, and personalized content. All programs are available in varying levels to match each user’s cognitive and physical abilities. Being able to use email and even webcams to connect and actually see family and friends is especially valuable to our residents and their loved ones during the difficult times we are living through.
More than just facilitating communication, the iN2L system provides extensive programming and resources. Staff and residents can take video tours in any country, enjoy a sing-along, practice religious devotions and participate in reminisce groups. Showing news clips from any era in history can be especially beneficial to memory care residents. With a joystick or a steering wheel, residents can fly an airplane, drive a car and much, much more. Programs are also available for therapy departments seeking to enhance exercise regimens for residents in rehabilitation. The system is portable, so it can be used on all units and in residents’ rooms.
Each resident will have an individual profile reflecting his or her personal interests for the staff to reference when providing personalized care. Even residents who may have never used a computer, are now enjoying technology by utilizing systems created especially for them. Benefits to our residents include:
- Safe and easy access to the Internet and email
- Improved socialization and quality of life
- Promoting wellness, including sleep quality
- Enhanced independence
- Activities adapted to each resident’s unique abilities and interests
- Enriched communication with family and community
- Increased cognitive stimulation
iN2L technology also offers an alternative to occupational, physical and speech therapies. Research shows that using the computer for therapeutic reasons helps residents sustain treatment for longer periods of time and keeps them engaged while doing it. No more boring therapy sessions! Rachel Hafer, Director of Life Enrichment and Memory Support at The Preserve, uses the therapeutic music section to play in the background throughout their daily activities. “We are able to select the most appropriate type of music for each occasion – upbeat music for socials, and relaxing music for winding down or manicures” says Hafer.
Working on techniques such as enjoying mind-stimulating activities and improving hand-eye coordination as part of a rehabilitation program can be so much more engaging when technology is involved. iN2L promotes overall wellness and has also made a significant impact on sleep quality. Improving memory care lies at the forefront of iN2L’s goals which they are working towards with an application to specifically serve this purpose. All programs intended to improve memory care or relieve challenges associated with dementia can be easily found under one icon and are updated every two months. Currently, a favorite for the Memory Support residents at The Preserve are the videos of babies laughing! The baby laughs are infectious and we often see the staff even stopping to listen. Hafer says, “it’s a good time for all!”
Volunteers of America National Services has worked diligently to make this type of technology available in all of its facilities across the country. iN2L Founder and CEO Jack York said “It’s Never 2 Late is honored to have provided engagement technology to Volunteers of America residents over the years. VOA’s integration of cutting-edge technologies and their spirit of caring has been remarkable in the industry.”
Utilizing technology for its unlimited capabilities is something that is ingrained in the foundation of our Life Enrichment program at The Preserve. Now more than ever, it is important for senior loved ones to be able to connect with family and friends through interactive technology and to keep their mind active. iN2L is providing dignity through technology by connecting older adults with their caregivers and loved ones using the tools and practical benefits computers have to offer.