Memory care residents at Heritage Monona are using tablets, iPads and laptops to stimulate their minds and help prevent cognitive impairment and dementia.
The baking game is a favorite. With colorful pictures and prompts, residents select ingredients and then discover the product they are baking. Sudoku is another favorite, as are computerized jigsaw puzzles.
Heritage Senior Living, of which the Monona campus is part, has been a driving force in providing care to those with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s occurs at a rate of one new patient every 66 seconds in the United States, and that is projected to double by 2050 because of the aging population.
“The main goal of using these games is to increase positive moods in residents and reduce the use of or dependence on medication,” said Adrianne Stupar, executive director at Heritage Monona. “Our goal is to be able to manage someone’s escalating behaviors without resorting to medication. Ultimately, we’d like to reduce the use of medication overall.
“Additionally, these games not only help engage our residents but also bridges the generational gap between where caregivers are with technology and residents.”
The games are part of an app created by DYNSEO.
After residents are done with the games, caregivers and staff can report and track their moods.
“Every person has their own profile that I set them up with,” said Amy Parker, life enrichment director at Heritage Monona. “I have one who was a history teacher; she loves the geography one.”
Stupar also said memory care residents may be having a bad day, but the DYNSEO games can help calm them down and de-escalate the situation.
“It is something they do to relax and brighten their spirits, since they have the ability to decide what game they want to play and how difficult they want it to be,” Stupar said. “We can track their mood and see if it really helps them.”
Sometimes the seniors use their own iPhone, or there may be a similar mobile device assigned to the resident.
“We can supply all the tablets,” Stupar said. “The pictures make the game easy for seniors to use. Once the muscle memory kicks in, it is exciting.”
Parker enjoys having the residents play in groups or as a big group with the game on the big screen television. Among her favorites are the math games and quizzes that include the answer in a multiple-choice format.
“They can all shout out the answers,” she said. “There are different categories that can meet the needs of everyone.”