A local senior living community announced they will be giving their residents a new way to have fun.
The Virginian, located on Arlington Boulevard in Fairfax, is the first senior living community in the D.C. Metro area that will utilize Obie for Seniors, a gaming system designed to give senior citizens, especially ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia, a way to have fun by identifying movements while offering a suite of games to enhance movement, cognition, and social interaction.
The technology is motion-activated. By moving their hands around on the table surface, seniors can play the game and there is nothing to set up nor take down, as opposed to other gaming devices. Obie empowers moving while encouraging social interaction. Additionally, it’s easy to control with no controllers, no instructions. Instead, just sit down and move your hands.
Andrew Carle, executive director, coined the term “Nana Technology” in 2004, and this addition is just the latest step in technology aimed at improving the quality of life for older adults. Prior to Obie’s arrival in Virginia, Carle met with Dennis Jakubowicz, chief revenue officer for Senior Care North America at EyeClick. EyeClick had initially founded Obie for Seniors in Israel.
Carle and Jakubowicz spoke about installing a pilot program, and eventually came to an agreement. EyeClick had proof that the technology had worked in a number of senior living communities in Europe. Carle says they had an interest in bringing it to the United States about three or four months ago.
“I was aware of Obie, actually, and its existence in Europe, and felt very strongly that we should try to bring it here, and I happened to know the person that they hired to be their North American rep (Jakubowicz),” said Carle. “He and I have known each other for 10 years in the technology world, and so I connected with him and asked how do we get it here?”
The technology currently has four levels of challenges in their games. Those in the early stages of cognitive decline will usually play the more challenging games, and as they progress through the different stages of Alzheimer’s, the game can be adjusted. Also, if the game is considered too difficult, it can be altered to make it easier to play.
Carle says the experience for the senior citizens has been a positive one since the program was implemented, citing their desire to see what comes next.
“They love it,” said Carle. “They are absolutely excited, and everything we’re doing here is designed to create a state of the art, senior living community, luxury, independent living, assisted living, state of the art, memory care, skilled nursing and rehab, it’s really, really special.”
The addition of Obie for Seniors is the latest in a renovation project worth more than $50 million that includes a memory care program, which according to Carle, is on track to be not only a state-of-the-art program for Northern Virginia in the D.C. area, but across the country as well.