SILVER surfers at a care home are taking a high-tech trip down memory lane.
Residents at Pendine Park’s Hillbury care home in Wrexham are getting to grips with an exciting modern technology therapy package designed to support people with dementia.
The Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities devices (RITA) helps to enhance the quality of life and wellbeing for the residents, exercising their minds as they take part in a wide range of activities on the devices that can potentially help trigger memories.
Among the activities are a range of games, listen to music, view old photographs, take part in quizzes and watch classic films like the Sound of Music.
The machines developed by My Improvement Network, whose founder had a relative with dementia, and were supplied to Hillbury via Wrexham County Borough Council.
There is also evidence that interacting with the device can help reduce falls.
One resident happily engaging with what RITA has to offer is Peter Cotton.
Peter revealed he had little previous experience of using computers, but he proved adept when he tried out some of the games available on the system.
He also demonstrated strong general knowledge abilities during quiz session on RITA, which followed a similar format to hit shows such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire? with participants having four answers to choose from.
From correctly identifying Sheffield Wednesday FC’s nickname to remembering where the Clifton Suspension Bridge was located, Peter continually came up with the correct answers.
“I have enjoyed it tremendously,” said Peter, 87.
“I’ve never done anything like this before. But it has been good fun today.
“If there’s anything going on here, I will join in quite happily.
“It has been good to take part in the quiz.”
Peter became a resident of Hillbury earlier this year and has quickly settled in his new surroundings.
“I find it really pleasant here,” he said. “Everyone is very friendly.
“There is a good atmosphere, the food is good and the premises are very nice.”
His happiness at the home has been aided by building a strong rapport with staff.
They include care workers Stacey Sutton and Louise Parry, who have successfully completed training to allow them to lead RITA sessions.
Stacey, who is employed as a senior carer, said: “The residents seem to be enjoying it and benefitting from it.
“There is a good deal of flexibility. You can arrange activities to cater for what the residents can do and things can also be sorted for a group of residents or an individual.
“We can set up individual profiles for each resident. If a resident has a particular interest in something then they can look for information on it and it will bring up every article relating to it.
“If a resident remembers something that happened on a particular date, they can type it in and then an article will appear about it.
“We are very grateful to Wrexham Council for donating this. It is a big help to us.”
Games on the devices include old favourites such as Snakes and Ladders, as well as newer computer games that help test the reflexes and responses of residents.
An app called Move It or Lose It enables residents to sit in their chairs and copy the exercises being performed in front of them.
Users can also watch archive news footage, view old photographs and listen to famous speeches.
Participants can sit with others around a computer screen, or individually use a 10-inch tablet computer.
Louise, who works as a care practitioner, said: “I think a lot of the residents are not used to using computers, but they are embracing using RITA.
“It shows that computer games are for everybody and not just young people.
“It is helping the residents and they are enjoying coming together for activities such as the quizzes.”
Hillbury manager Cindy Clutton made the successful application to Wrexham Council and has been pleased with the initial impact RITA has made in the home.
She said: “We are extremely grateful to Wrexham Council for providing us with this equipment.
“We had to put an application forward stating why we should be accepted for it and we were delighted when we were successful.
“RITA plays an important role and acts as a stimulus to help activate the mind.
“There is evidence that RITA can help prevent falls, so this was something we wanted to bring here to Hillbury.”