Columbus, NE: iN2L “Oom-Pah-Pahing” Its Way Into Our Hearts

It is easy to see the benefits of the iN2L the first time you use any of the programs in a group setting. The ease of inviting residents to a room and singing along with Suzie Q, testing our Nebraska trivia, and watching polka dancing on YouTube can make anyone a valuable asset to Life Enrichment. But what if we took it one step further, stepping out of our own comfort zone and into the hearts of our residents with dementia related memory impairments and those receiving hospice services? Brookestone Acres’ Life Enrichment Assistant Diane did just that!
Brookestone Acres does not have a memory support neighborhood, so we are blessed and challenged every day to work with all different levels of physical and cognitive needs. Trying to find activities that are mentally stimulating and physically challenging for our more active residents while still being able to modify them to be meaningful and engaging for our less cognitive residents can be tough. However, taking advantage of one to one and using the iN2L lets us focus on providing individualized quality life and quality care.
Diane directed her attention to three specific residents that she felt needed more life enriching opportunities to better fit their needs. She started by reading the resident’s Life Story to get better aquatinted with their history, likes, and dislikes. She then met with each resident on an individually observing their verbal and non-verbal reactions to different programs from the iN2L she thought they might like. While one resident needed frequent ques to focus on the screen, the other two were very accepting of the iN2L by frequently smiling and being very attentive to the pictures and music. One of the residents used to write for our local paper, showing her the online version sparked interest as she was able to read the headlines nice and clear with the zooming option from the iN2L. After meeting with each resident individually, Diane gathered the three residents together to engage in a common interest, polka dancing. Each resident smiled, tapped their toes, and giggled at each other while the iN2L was showing a video of dancers and the “Oom-Pah-Pah” of music was filling the room.
Although Diane was happy with her first observation, she was not quite satisfied. Asking herself “How do I engage the resident, and not just entertain?” She tried to focus on taking a step back and letting the resident venture through the iN2L, using hand over hand assistance and then encouraging them to utilize the touch screen, clicking on videos they want to watch and practicing hand-eye coordination while popping bubbles. She noticed an immediate difference in the quality time she was spending with them. Seeing their faces light up as they accomplished their goals and seeing the joyous reward of using it by themselves.
As Diane continues working with these residents utilizing the iN2L she noted valuable changes amongst the residents and within herself. She, herself, was apprehensive to use the iN2L, as it was a new program and technology for her. She overcame her fear, and stepped right over the threshold of the resident’s doorway and they learned it together. She noticed after frequently visiting the residents with the iN2L, their expressions when they saw her coming lit up the room with excitement. And finally, she gained attention from other residents and staff wondering what they were doing, wanting to watch, and also engage in the games and videos to see what all the giggling was about.
Diane expressed some discouragement, as one of our residents continues to decline within her health and wondering what she can do. Again, she was able to utilize the iN2L in a much more different way by playing soft music and reading the daily devotions to still provide those moments of purpose, pleasure and peace.
The iN2L is unbelievably adaptable to provide all different stimulating activities regardless of our resident’s abilities. Whether it’s a quick “Picture of the Day” after our afternoon Rosary, reminiscing over baking pies, or engaging the whole dining room with some football trivia before dinner, it provides all of us with compassion and teamwork.

Quality Life-We will create a living environment that radiates love, peace, spiritual contentment, dignity and safety, while encouraging personal independence.

Diane Huismann, Life Enrichment Assistant & Steph Johnson, Life Enrichment Coordinator

Brookestone Acres, Columbus, NE