iPads help jog memory, train brains at retirement center

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A retirement center in Florida says an iPad pilot program started in July is helping keep residents young at heart.

The iPad’s large touch screen and light weight are helping healthy residents socialize more — as they play with puzzles and games — and it’s been “pretty amazing,” the home director says with re-educating stroke and dementia patients.

It only took three donated iPads, loaded with games,brain trainers, puzzles and language apps,  to improve life at the Health Central Park nursing home in Winter Garden, Florida.

One quotidian example: the Talking Tom Cat app, a freebie that features a cat that repeats what you tell it, encouraged a 99-year-old resident to drink her fluids.

“She watched the cat drink a cup of milk. Then she took her own cup and drank her fluids. We were very excited,” Yandle told the Orlando Sentinel. “She also likes the music app and sings to Shirley Temple’s ‘On the Good Ship Lollipop.’ She knows all the words.”

Lester Windham, an 80-year-old retired butcher, was isolated and quiet but thanks to what he calls “The Black Box,” he now interacts with workers and other residents. “I asked my daughter to buy me one because I like it,” Windham said while he played Memory Game. “I won the first game!”

Despite the iPad’s success as a learning tool for all ages, the center didn’t set out to break any new ground.

“It came to us as a happy accident,” said Judy Skilton, Health Central Park’s director. “What started out as one resident’s curiosity about … an iPhone turned into something that is helping them spell, track items, make choices and read words. It’s amazing.”

Via Orlando Sentinel