DENNIS BUCKLEY FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD SPECIAL
Residents of Yankee Hill Village can enjoy an extra-sensory experience covering a wide range of personal needs and interests with the touch of a large computer screen.
From 1940s Big Band melodies to church services of various denominations, a new technology called iN2L is bringing people together, connecting seniors with things of interest and satisfying them. It also enables them to share conversations, experiences, learning and fun with each other, their carers and family.
The new technology launched in late August at Yankee Hill Village, an Emmanuel community at 8401 S. 33rd St. Melissa Ryan, executive director of Yankee Hill Village since 2018, said it was initially aimed at residents of the retirement community’s memory support area.
“IN2L is designed to engage our memory care areas, remind them of happy times and immerse them in great memories,” Ryan said. (IN2L stands for never too late.)
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Ultimately, the joy of the iN2L experience will be demonstrated to residents of 47 independent living apartments and 59 assisted living apartments. Overall, Yankee Mountain Village has 128 residents.
“I call it ‘Google Within’…it’s very helpful, with tons of information and thousands of options to choose from,” says life enrichment director at retirement communities (formerly Clark Jeary Retirement) for 19 years Beth Alberts said community).
“Sports, travel, games, puzzles, religion…you name it, it provides an interactive experience,” Alberts said. For example, click the “Relax” box and one of the options that pops up is “Aquarium”. Tap on the aquarium, swipe across the screen with your finger, and you’ll feel like you’re immersed in bubbles, immersed in sound effects.
“Relaxation is something we all value, but it’s especially important among residents of memory-supportive communities,” Alberts said.
Music was another popular option chosen by iN2L participants. With this technology, karaoke backing vocals have become a hot topic. “This will play music selections that often remind residents of special moments in their lives,” Alberts said. “This technology provides meaningful engagement that can lead to happier, healthier lives.”
Residents’ families can also benefit from the new technology through video chatting, messaging, and watching loved ones have fun.
All staff are trained
All 83 Yankee Hill Village employees have been trained to help residents enjoy the experience. Kathy Nannen, a senior life enrichment coordinator who has worked in the memory care community for 32 years, said the arrival of iN2L is a welcome addition to ease the transition following lifestyle restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“This identifies personal interests and helps a lot after the challenges posed by COVID-19,” Nannen said. “Interactive games are especially a welcome relief in the late afternoon, when confusion and anxiety are lingering in memory. Nursing communities become more prevalent.”