By Jessica Hegg United States
Integrating technology into activities for seniors is a must in the digital age.
With existing hardware your facility already has (like laptops, projectors, tablets), activity coordinators can access a multitude of free online resources and tools that will usher in a wave of new, fun and unique experiences for residents.
Not super computer savvy yourself? Find someone to help you like a volunteer, a resident's family member, or a staff member.
Check out the following 5 tech-centered activity ideas to get started:
Give residents a front row seat to a performance or special guest speaker using free video chat tools like Skype, Google Hangout, or FaceTime. A laptop with projector, a blank wall (or projector screen), and an internet connection are all you need to power this tech activity. Who should you video chat? For activities involving groups of residents, connect with a local high school chorale or city symphony to schedule a special performance for residents.
Guest speakers can provide a fun and informative half hour to hour-long session as well - think master gardeners who can share seasonal tips and tools, historians who can share stories and pictures, or animal specialists from a nature or animal preserve who can physically show and tell cute and interesting animals right on the screen for residents to enjoy.
Looking to take your special holiday celebration for residents up a notch? It’s super easy to put together a beautiful slideshow presentation using existing photos and videos your facility has saved. Pre-installed computer software like Powerpoint or Keynote give users the option to turn their presentations into slideshows, and free, online services like Animoto and Kizoa amp up the production value with slideshow templates, a music library, and the ability to integrate photos, quotes, videos and more.
A virtually endless map for the digital age, Google Earth is an incredible (free) tool that can help your residents see and experience wonders near and far. Download the Google Earth application to a computer and hook up to a projector so an entire room of residents can take part. Activity ideas include:
In addition to the interactive digital globe, Google Earth includes images, information and facts, and easy categories to help you navigate destinations.
Planning a volunteer appreciation event for your facility? Use technology to create a beautiful and heartfelt video that residents can take part in. Something as small as a smartphone can be used to record hi-resolution video. When residents are together, do a brief “interview,” asking them to share their appreciation for a specific volunteer or all the facility’s volunteers as a whole. Combine the videos into a movie that can be screened at your appreciation luncheon or party using iMovie or some of the slideshow tools listed above.
Stimulating brain activity is super important for aging seniors, especially those fighting memory loss and cognitive decline. Technology offers easy, fun ways to play games like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and Scrabble through apps and websites accessible via a computer or tablet. Not only do digital games let players magnify screens to see better and prevent eye strain, but they also do not require the dexterity to hold a pen or small pieces that physical games do.