If Video Games can help us Learn, Can Ipads and the App Store help us Remember?

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-09-26/technology/os-ipad-2-elderly-florida-20110923_1_ipad-lumarie-polivka-west-nursing-home

I’d just like to say first off, that this is a bit of a promotion for an idea my uncle (he’s mentioned in the article, Ed Dobski) had at the nursing home he works at in Florida.  However, since then there have been many other nursing homes in his area and across the nation that are adopting the idea of using Ipads and similar technology to help nursing home residents interact and socialize with others, and even to exercise their minds to be able to remember better.

While the article isn’t super informative on the types of activities the nursing home carries out with the Ipads, I thought it was an interesting topic to bring up given our recent discussion of the way technology is changing education and life in general.  In this case, however, it is changing for a different demographic than that of school age individuals or those seeking to better prepare themselves for employment.  With these activities, nursing homes aim to keep residents more engaged with both their own personal lives (building and sustaining memory retention) as well as with the world around them.  As the daughter of a resident stated, the Ipad helps cross generational relationships in a time and place where there is little to do other than stare at squirrels.  With the introduction of easy to use games such as Memory, residents are encouraged to interact not only through the simplicity of the game (easy to use even for residents with mobility issues), but it also creates an environment of feasible competition and socialization that otherwise would be nearly impossible in which the cross generational gap can be easily forgotten.

By incorporating this kind of technology, researchers can now begin to collect data on new methods to combat Alzheimer’s and other diseases that attack the brain and memory, similarly to the way they have been collecting data on how these same technologies teach us.  While it may not always cross our minds, it is important to realize that learning and video games are not just for youth or individuals seeking knowledge, but also for those who seek to sustain these traits into old age.

-Jeanise

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