Innovation and technology at the forefront of new iPad initiative - The Explorer: Aging Well

Innovation and technology at the forefront of new iPad initiative

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Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 4:00 am

A new type of healing is happening in Tucson. Sonora at Splendido, the health center within one of Arizona’s leading continuing care retirement communities Splendido, recently began incorporating the use of iPad tablet-style computing technology into daily programming in order to engage residents on new cognitive and social levels, and improve connections with friends and family.

According to Pew Internet Data, more than half of adults age 65 and over use email or are on the Internet, with almost 70 percent owning a cell phone. As older adults become more immersed in the technical age, health centers like Sonora set the stage for the future of care among older adults.

The iPads were donated to Sonora at Splendido by the Levin family, in honor of their mother, who had been a former resident. The iPads will enable residents to connect via Skype video calling over the internet with family scattered throughout the United States and around the world. The result is an ability to communicate and maintain relationships from a distance that would otherwise have been more difficult.

 “The technology has allowed a connection between residents and their family members,” Gail Rankin, administrator of Sonora at Splendido, says of the newly acquired iPads. “Sonora residents can still be in close contact with their families even if they are not in the area -- and that is what healing looks like.”

Real families are feeling the rewards. For one family the iPad technology allowed the daughter of a Sonora resident to return to her home in the Midwest while still maintaining daily visits with her mother. Now these moments are simply shared through a high-resolution screen.

The connective nature of iPad technology is just one of the doors opened by the donation.  In addition to family members staying in touch with residents, they can also be brought into Care Team/Planning meetings with staff as well. Remote conferencing has allowed multiple family members from different locations to interface with residents’ medical care teams, facilitating a more productive discussion and increased level of care.

The tablets have also been incorporated into meditation practices, current events, music activities, word games and various other types of programming in line with the personal interests of residents. Sonora at Splendido staff continue to work with residents in determining the types of interfaces that appeal to the cognitive abilities of each individual.

With the introduction of greater technology resources, Splendido has expanded its Wi-Fi coverage throughout its entire health center, giving access to all residents who own their own devices to join this tablet-fuelled healing network making waves among older adults.

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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