Tablet Devices Stimulate the Brain, Enhance Socialization

Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The rapid evolution of technology is presenting an opportunity to change how people age in the 21st century, allowing them in many ways to live a more Abundant Life®. Tablet devices such as the iPad support hundreds of applications (apps) that are proving to be extremely beneficial to the aging population, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities.

Recently, staff at Passavant Community has begun using iPads with some residents in personal care, nursing and the My Day Out program with tremendous success. The iPads were purchased through two separate grants – one from the American Legion Post #474 in Zelienople and one from the Ira and Frances Wood Charitable Trust.

“When the residents use the iPads, what you get from them is total engagement. It is absolutely fascinating to watch,” said Jody Gulish, Community Life director at Passavant. Residents have been using a variety of apps including art, music and games, both individually and in groups. “They are so intrigued that when they touch the iPad, it responds. It is beneficial to the cognitive and creative/expressive aspect of our care.”

Mary Ann Frederick, assisted living activities coordinator at Passavant is thrilled at the way the residents are responding to various apps they have explored so far. In a group setting, she said, there is better socialization among the residents as they play games like Wheel of Fortune or Family Feud, word games and memory stimulating games. Other residents who are lower functioning have shown positive emotional responses to apps involving music, colors and pictures.

“To see them interact like this, I’m in awe!” Frederick said.

Sharon Whalen, technology associate for Lutheran SeniorLife, said that the iPads and other similar tablet devices can be very beneficial to the aging population. “Many people think that iPads are for kids, for fun and games only. But there really is something here for everyone.” Whalen demonstrated this at her recent presentation “What Is An iPad, and Why Would I Want One?” for the residents at Overbrook Pointe. Those in attendance had a wide range of familiarity with tablet devices, from novice to more experienced, but all were fascinated by just how much they had to offer.

“Independent living residents have different reasons for using the iPad, and are becoming less tentative about using technology,” Whalen said.

But for all seniors, independence and a sense of accomplished is something that should be nurtured to help them live a more Abundant Life® - and iPads can help accomplish that.


Pictured at right: Len Burrows, resident at Overbrook Pointe, gets some iPad instruction from his grandson Scott Lohman and Sharon Whalen, technology associate for Lutheran SeniorLife.


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