New Technology Expands Regency's Mission

 innovative-computer-system-for-seniorsRegency Retirement Village employs every tool at our disposal to help our residents spend their golden years enjoying life. In some cases, that involves using technology to help them stay active, avoid boredom, improve cognitive & physical capacities, and strengthen the oh-so-important connections that dictate the quality of their lives. To that end, Regency is implementing the iN2L kiosk system into our communities.

The iN2L system (iN2L stands for “It’s Never Too Late”) has been highlighted in the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, National Public Radio and dozens of smaller media outlets. While our world does not yet have the flying cars that science fiction promised us, this system is positively futuristic. A picture-based, touch-screen interface allows users to simply ‘touch’ their way to find engaging, educational, spiritual and personalized content that is appropriate to their own level of ability.

Jeff Clay, Regency’s COO, said Regency is making this system a company-wide commitment for our Memory Care residents.

“We just purchased an additional five units for our remaining communities,” he said. “Huntsville has had two iN2L units for 8 months. Tuscaloosa has used one for 6 months. All other communities are receiving their new system now. I have scheduled a companywide training on the new system on November 29th.”

Simplifying Technology for Today's Seniors

Seniors and technology have not always been easy companions, as evidenced by anecdotal stories of visiting grandchildren tasked with setting up gadgets for their elders, but one of the very best aspects of iN2L is the ease of use.

Using a computer to perform the tasks that have become so prevalent in the digital age – email, sharing photos, setting appointments – can now be done with minimal frustration and actually become pleasurable, engaging experiences rather than chores to dread. iN2L integrates the various hardware, software, media, ergonomic and adaptive components necessary to accommodate virtually any person with an interest in using a computer — regardless of background, physical or intellectual abilities. It has adapted the components especially with them in mind.

This “engagement system” packages an easy-to-use touchscreen kiosk that fits in with the décor of our Regency communities. Individually and in groups, residents can connect with friends and family, pursue personal interests, stimulate the senses and have fun. Family can add personalized content remotely and partner with our staff to give loved ones a truly unique experience.

“It’s a portable system, and we can wheel it anywhere that a wheelchair can go,” said Monique Dykstra of Regency in Huntsville, our largest community. “The screen and speaker system are built right in. Residents have used it to email their families, send and receive photos, it can even be used for games like BINGO. One resident has taken great joy in emailing regularly with her son in California. It is a new piece of technology that is rare among senior living communities in this area.”

When friends and family live far away or simply can’t visit in person as often as residents would like, e-mails and webcam sessions are the next best thing. The senior-friendly software and applications encourage brain fitness, education, virtual travel, spirituality, music, games, trivia, exercise, dementia programming, and more.

Another Component in the Regency Formula

“The iN2L system is a great financial investment,” said Jackie Holmes, Regency’s Regional Director of Sales and Marketing. “This is not like going out and buying an $89 tablet. This sort of touchscreen kiosk system is still extremely rare among senior living communities, adding to the list of amenities that make Regency the best choice for retirement living.”

Holmes said she was impressed by how it “addresses all of the dimensions of wellness – the recreational, the spiritual… And it’s superior to just having a dedicated space in the community where residents can use a shared computer because of the physical barriers and difficulty of use. From a physical standpoint, the height of the kiosk can be adjusted so that someone standing or using a wheelchair can use the touchscreen equally well.”

Therapeutic applications are disguised as entertaining games. For example, a resident needing help with hand/eye coordination might touch the screen to “pop” bubbles pixelated before them. A former pilot can relieve the experience of taking off or landing a jet with a flight simulator. Regency staff has become accustomed to smiles of joy as residents discover they can learn new things and restore lost connections.

Using Tech to Better Reach those with Dementia

Of course, it has obvious benefits for those suffering from dementia.

As Clay was researching tech solutions to assist with Memory Care, each system he considered had one specific approach, such as Music and Memory, focusing on downloading specific residents’ favorite artists and songs, or using a Japanese program that focuses employs simple math and grammar flashcards to stimulate seniors’ brain function.

“The iN2L has the ability for families to create a unique resident portal or account where they can download these same artists and favorite songs, plus a plethora of learning activities where they are engaged to participate so it is an all-inclusive program,” Clay said.

“This was a major initiative to test this engagement system at two communities, and we became confident that it was making a difference with our residents -- getting their families involved and making out Activity Directors’ jobs easier. It has been enjoyable and fulfilling to see their residents having a better quality of life! iN2L will be an integral part of all of our Pathways INTENTIONAL Memory Care Neighborhoods.”

These tools are particularly suited for older adults dealing with dementia and other cognitive disorders. The system is utilized for clients who might otherwise be difficult to reach with traditional therapy treatment approaches. With the massive library of content available to them, rehab professionals are finding new ways to engage and treat clients with dementia and cognitive decline like never before.

“It was created with those in Memory Care so that will be our focus at Regency, but because it is a mobile unit and can be connected to large screen TVs, we will take it to Assisted Living residents unwilling to attend activities to hopefully engage them as well,” Clay said.

We are able to use IN2L for Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy. Residents can benefit from safety awareness, problem-solving and memory applications.

Connecting with someone with dementia is not always easy — iN2L gives our staff the tools to make a difference in the lives of the people in our care. Programs and games designed for residents with dementia serve to reduce anxiety, engage to refocus, entertain to redirect or stimulate reminiscing conversations. Content is designed by experts in the field of dementia care to reach a range of function levels and interests.

Clay said the tech alone is useful, but for maximum benefit, Regency is integrating training from Teepa Snow, an internationally known trainer and speaker from Alabama regarding Alzheimer’s care. “We plan to employ her comprehensive videos into our training programs for our caregivers,” he said. “These videos cover everything from unique approaches to engaging our residents into participating in planned activities or redirecting a resident that’s having some challenging behaviors.”

At Regency Retirement Village, the future of senior care has arrived.

Published in Memory Care