Picking Up Easy Entertainment Ideas
Finding accessible entertainment for our loved ones who have limited mobility is more important than ever in the current age of COVID-19. Here are some ideas for keeping our loved ones involved and energized.
Katherine Autin, founder of Parkinson Partners, once had a client who couldn’t move around too much. To keep her client entertained while she was confined to her bed, Katherine tied a colorful balloon filled with helium to her bedpost. “She could pull it down and bat at it with her hands. It was so fun for her,” Katherine states.
Katherine also suggested searching the internet for dance programs that are catered to those who cannot move around as much. “People can use dance steps even when they are sitting,” she states. “They can move their arms, tap their feet, and move their head back and forth.” Dance for PD is currently offering free online dance classes, which can be accessed via a link on their website.
Paul Burns, from the Community Relations Department at Louisville Free Public Libraries, gave us all the details on their digital and delivery offerings that greatly benefit those who can’t physically get around. They offer over 18,000 downloadable audiobooks, and its “Books To You” service delivers library materials to those who aren’t physically able to visit their local branch.
INVEST IN A BIRDSONG TABLET
The Birdsong Tablet is an affordable and senior-friendly device that offers unlimited entertainment and engagement for our loved ones.
“Right from the onset, we knew that in order to serve this population, it needed to be far simpler than an iPad but not insulting,” states Benjamin Unkle, CEO of Birdsong Tablet. Some of Birdsong’s senior-friendly features include: large touch buttons, picture navigation, a very intuitive interface, and research-backed colors and color contrasts specifically for older adults. Birdsong is also in the process of patenting a persistent home button so that every screen has the red home button in the lower left corner. “If you push the red home button, you go right back to the opening screen. You can never get lost, stuck, or frustrated,” Benjamin states.
On top of its easy-to-use capabilities, the Birdsong Tablet offers over 8,000 different experiences that older adults like. With the purchase of the hardware and the $19/month subscription, your loved one is equipped with movies/TV shows, word games, learning courses, video chat features, internet access, cooking tutorials, virtual tours, and more.
TRY VIRTUAL REALITY
Engagement is as simple as putting on a headset. Rendever has a passion for reducing isolation and depression for our senior loved ones, and its virtual reality headset is proven to do just that. The headset is controlled by a caregiver, who can choose from a wide range of experiences in which to immerse their loved one.
What sets Rendever apart is its personalized experiences. Using the control tablet, a caregiver can type in a street address and transport their loved one back to their childhood home. Or search for their favorite vacation spots and talk to them about past memories and experiences that still mean so much to them.
Rendever headsets can be used in group settings (nursing homes, chemotherapy units, assisted living facilities, etc.), and help keep seniors engaged and communicating.
“We sell ‘systems,’ or groups of headsets,” states Grace Andruszkiewicz, director of marketing and partnerships. “The control tablet shoots the experience to all of the headsets simultaneously. And what’s special is that in this group setting, all users are going to, let’s say, the Pyramids of Giza together. They can talk about the camels they see, the weather there, and have conversations about the experience together. What we see, organically, is that people start telling each other stories about their own experiences, and these relationships and connections last long after the VR experience is over. It truly is helping people build relationships.”
ENROLL IN A MUSIC THERAPY SESSION
“Depending on the client, music therapy can assist with social/emotional, physical, behavioral, and even academic needs,” says Julia Carpenter, MT-DC. “It can also be used for pain management, relaxation, and expression of emotions.”
Julia, who is part of the team at Louisville Expressive Therapies, often works with the elderly population and credits music therapy with facilitating engagement between the family and the client. “A lot of times, I come to families who aren’t able to communicate with their elderly loved one. Music therapy really helps them to engage in communication, and it’s truly a positive experience for them to be able to create those memories with their loved one.”
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, your loved one can still participate safely. Group therapy can be held outside with adequate spacing, or a therapist can even conduct a session through a window, using a phone to communicate with their client on the other side.