One stereotype of the elderly and long retired is that they fear new technology. Yet many of the GI Generation and Silent Generation were, in fact, the ones who started the phenomenal research and development in the middle of the twentieth century that give us our hybrid cars and smart phones today. A recent report from the McClatchy-Tribune Information Services demonstrates how the caregivers of these generations are discovering how quickly and happily their clients and patients are responding to the latest mobile technology, the iPad.
The story, by Walter Pacheco,at Health Central Park in Orange County Florida to try an iPhone to engage residents with memory issues or even Alzheimer’s Disease – an effort that became a boon to staff and clients alike. A couple of residents had expressed interest in the iPhone, but its size caused some concerns.
The iPad fit much more readily into their needs and into the expectations of the community: “Activities coordinator Ed Dobski said residents whose hands are atrophied or unable to type on a keyboard or hold a mouse will swipe their hand across the tablet’s smooth glass. ‘It’s lightweight and looks like a book,’ he said. ‘It’s instant gratification.'”
Many are using it to play interactive games, especially memory games, but the device has also helped patients monitor their own medical needs or reach out to staff and family. One family in Pacheco’s account tells of their (grand)father’s re-engagement through board- and card-games, and another relates how an uncommunicative woman has enjoyed the ways the iPad helps her keep up her fluid intake and her prescriptions.
Therapy-level software is moving into development for the iPad now that proved cumbersome on traditional computers. “Tony Marsh and Jack Rejeski, health and exercise-science professors at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, in 2010 helped develop the Mobility Assessment Tool for the iPad. MAT consists of videos showing animated figures performing daily tasks such as climbing stairs and walking. The videos not only help senior citizens picture themselves doing these tasks, but they offer some insight of their clients’ limitations [such as their inability to maneuver a mouse or a Wii game console with the required precision].”
Add to the growing opportunities the stories we reported on the ways the(SCALE) in Baltimore is to help those with Aphasia communicate orally again.
With such developments of the use of the iPad and other Apple technologies, it is difficult to dismiss the fact that Apple Inc. has fundamentally improved the lives of millions of people working in or dependent upon the not-for-profit world.