Michigan-based outreach program was designed to bridge multi-generational communication barriers and foster greater understanding about dementia and memory loss.
DENVER, Colo.—February 6, 2018—Senior residents of Michigan-based EHM Senior Solutions and area high school students recently completed a unique project to bring greater understanding to the emotional and intellectual dimensions of memory loss.
Using tablet technology from It’s Never 2 Late® (iN2L), students worked with EHM residents living with memory loss to create visual and audio stories based on seniors’ personal recollections surfaced during student-led interviews.
Watch the video.
“This project was designed to bridge a gap between fast-paced, tech-savvy high school students and older adults with memory impairment,” said Denise B. Rabidoux, President and CEO of Ann Arbor-based EHM Senior Solutions. “Our goal was that these sensitive encounters would prepare students for experiences they may have in the future with loved ones, neighbors and friends.”
The Real-Life Video Experience project was the result of a joint collaboration among staff and senior residents at EHM’s Memory Support Center at Brecon Village, Cottage Homes and Dottie Crim Adult Day Center; a trio of Saline, Mich., students enrolled in their high schools’ community outreach curriculum and Science Technology Engineering Arts and Manufacturing (STEAM) Program; and iN2L, which developed and supplied the iN2L FOCUS, a tablet device scaled to meet the needs of seniors, regardless of their physical and cognitive abilities.
Read the case study.
To begin, each student was educated by EHM caregivers about different forms of dementia and its associated behaviors, as well as how to meaningfully interact with individuals affected by the disease. Students were also instructed in the art of interviewing the senior they were paired with.
The students were then paired with a senior resident. Together they uncovered common bonds with which to develop a relationship, including community involvement, sports and music. Students captured personalized video, images and audio from a resident’s past, and also worked with seniors’ family members and loved ones in order to prompt memories, fill in details lost to memory impairment and ensure a comfortable, positive experience.
The students were also trained on the iN2L FOCUS, where the completed memory project would be stored and shared. The students also sat with their seniors to teach them how to access their stories on the tablet.
FOCUS, which was launched in Fall 2017, offers seniors, their loved ones and caregivers and intuitive, portable device to support social connection, intellectual curiosity and spiritual and emotional needs.
FOCUS includes customizable programming for education, spirituality, music, games, exercise and more, all launched with applications designed with senior user experience in mind. In addition, iN2L Focus features video chat, photo sharing, text and e-mail, enabling residents and their loved ones to easily communicate and socialize.
Rabidoux said that the result of the Real-Life Video Experience prompted the participating students to rethink their assumptions about living with memory loss, and the importance role memory plays in leading a dignified and purposeful life. EHM and iN2L are planning future iterations of this projects with new students and seniors.
“For 18 years iN2L has seen the power of engagement technology for individuals living with dementia,” said Jack York, president and co-founder of iN2L. “This project took it to a whole new level, providing meaningful interaction for high school students, memory care staff and residents themselves. The results were beyond our wildest dreams, and we look forward to expanding this model.”