A Place for Mom

iPads and Elders: Should Your Grandma iBraincercise?

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenMay 29, 2012

Understanding which technologies can not only enhance—but also improve cognitive functioning and stimulation—in the golden years is important information. iBraincercise shares insight into how the iPad product greatly benefits the elderly.

On our recent post “9 Reasons Why iPads Are Good for Memory Care Residents” we came in contact with Leidy (Gigi) Yelton, co-founder of iBraincercise, a company that caters iPad technology to different age groups—including senior citizens. According to this technologically-savvy company that specially tailors and bundles engaging iPad based product, “everyone should enjoy the latest technological advances without encountering the fear or hesitation often associated with innovation.”

In this interview, A Place for Mom asks Leidy Yelton how iPad technology and the iBraincercise product can specifically enhance senior living. You may be surprised to discover that with the addition of some apps and expert knowledge, the iPad may be the best gift you can give your grandma for her retirement enjoyment and stimulation…

A Place for Mom (APFM): How have iPads enhanced the lives of residents, from independent living to memory care communities?

Leidy (Gigi) Yelton: iBraincercise uses cutting edge technology via iPads to promote brain fitness for older adults, and older adults within the memory care communities. iPad-based activities have shown to impact the lives of older adults with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, including late stages of dementia. Our program has been used in independent living for learning french, music, reading ebooks and brain fitness, while also being using with memory care and bed-ridden residents to diminish anxiety, decrease pain level and trigger emotional responses that were not achievable in any other manner.

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APFM: Have you noticed a technology gap with the senior population and are seniors more open to the iPad than the computer?

LY: Getting introduced to something new is often overwhelming for many people. We have learned to initiate our iPad program as an activity (French classes, musical instruments, bird books, for instance), instead of as a versatile and complex little computer. This way, it’s more approachable. Additionally, as residents become more proficient in one iPad activity, they feel more comfortable navigating other iPad activities on their own.

APFM: What is the process for getting the iPads into the hands of the senior population? Do you work with the individual families or just the senior living communities?

LY:  We first evaluate programs currently being offered at the communities and also hobbies that their residents may have. We then create an iPad activity profile for that community to match those hobbies and program. Once the iPad are all set up and equipped with rugged cases, they are ready to be used as an educational, therapy, entertainment or relaxation tool.
We currently work with senior living communities, but are open to reach out to individual families as well.

APFM: How do you customize the iPads for each resident?

LY:  We aim to be as community- and as person-centered as possible. We assess individual hobbies and interests as we compile a group of new iPad activities each month. We target interests that vary in flora and fauna, book clubs, religion, language classes, music classes, relaxation routines and others.
As we aim to gather information on the residents interests and hobbies, we also keep in mind the need for speech and occupational therapy enhancement applications, as well as life enrichment tools.

APFM: What training do you offer to support your product?

LY:  At the start of each iPad program implementation we offer two hours of staff training, which entails iPad navigation basics (power, volume, charging, home button, for example) and also guidance of the new applications installed. We also check in  monthly, to see how the program is going and also to install new applications.

APFM: Is there a particular software that is most popular?

LY: At independent living communities, the Audubon birds encyclopedia app has been the top hit for the last few months. At memory care communities, the Koi Pond app is a winner.

APFM: Do you have any amazing stories to share from senior living communities?

LY: Absolutely! At one community, a lady with advanced Alzheimer’s, had lost her ability to both respond and talk.    A therapist with our iPad set her fingers on a sensory application.  The iPad exploded in brilliant colors, the lady looked down and immediately exclaimed “That’s amazing!” and continued to be talkative for the remaining weeks she stayed at the community.
Another community, a resident in memory care, was playing “You are my sunshine” on an iPad via a harpsichord application.   The neighboring resident also in memory care started singing along.   Staff members were amazed when they heard the neighboring resident singing along.
A paralyzed resident at another community who was being helped with various word activities on the iPad as she was going into a serious surgery was asked “What would she miss the most while she was gone?”   She said “The staff of this community, and the iPad.”
Also, we have experienced former artists become artists again.  Music lovers suddenly become musicians.  Forgotten languages revived in French and Spanish classes.  The possibilities are unlimited.

About iBraincercise:

Our mission of improving the quality of life for older adults has also presented the opportunity to provide innovative ways to help schools and institutions increase the quality of education, and businesses to become streamlined and more efficient.

The Benefits of Using iBraincercise:

Scientific evidence makes it clear: Not only is it possible, but recommended that we increase the quality of mental and physical health by participating in new activities. iBraincercise provides activities that stimulate, entertain and educate people of all ages. Whether 3 years old or 103 years old, our consulting, research and monthly updates help you keep your clientele active and sharp.

Call iBraincercise today at 847-644-1690 to start an iBraincercise profile catered to specific individual’s needs.

Dana Larsen
Dana Larsen

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