Giving Life Through Nintendo Wii

 
Location : Calabasas Memory Care Community

By Silverado Staff Writer

When John Jacobs picked up a Wii for the first time recently, he cracked a baseball with it almost immediately. His accomplishment would be significant for any novice Wii user, but it’s particularly notable given that Jacobs has Alzheimer’s disease.

Jacobs, 81, is one of about a dozen residents of Silverado Senior Living – San Juan Capistrano who have been demonstrating prowess with the Wii. “Mr. Jacobs was able to hit the baseball when no one else could, including those of us on the staff,” said Linda Szemenyei, the community’s director of resident engagement.

For Jacobs, the achievement with the Wii reflects his lifelong love of baseball. He played the sport in high school and at the University of Southern California, and later on the team of the company where he worked. Other Silverado residents have used the Wii to play golf or tennis or to bowl. Some of those residents played the sports earlier in life, but not all of them did so.

Bringing the Wii to Silverado – San Juan Capistrano was the idea of its administrator, Carole Shaw. “I played with one in December and I had been reading about how senior citizens were enjoying it and using it for exercise,” Shaw said. “I hadn’t heard of it being played by people with Alzheimer’s disease, but I didn’t see any reason that our residents wouldn’t be able to use it. Our philosophy at Silverado is to always look at what people with memory impairment can do, rather than what they can’t do, and I thought this would be exciting.”

Lindberg Ross, 75, using daily flex care at Silverado – Calabasas found a new passion and hobby, Wii bowling. Rachelle Dardeau, Administrator at the community, says, “His big accomplishment is his Nintendo Wii bowling. Mr. Ross, practices every day and writes his score on a piece of paper. He takes it home he shares it with family, he shares it with his church group and he shares it with the staff before he leaves for the day.” For the past three years this community has been able to enjoy the thrill of sports and sense of accomplishment from this fun and interactive video game.

The sessions with the Wii are just one element in program of daily activities at Silverado that includes other kinds of exercise and recreation; time spent with children and animals and in outdoor gardens; participation in clubs for cooking, woodworking, and other interests; and much more. All are part of Silverado’s stated mission of “giving life” to those with Alzheimer’s and other memory-impairing diseases.

When John Jacobs picked up a Wii for the first time recently, he cracked a baseball with it almost immediately. His accomplishment would be significant for any novice Wii user, but it’s particularly notable given that Jacobs has Alzheimer’s disease.

Jacobs, 81, is one of about a dozen residents of Silverado Senior Living – San Juan Capistrano who have been demonstrating prowess with the Wii. “Mr. Jacobs was able to hit the baseball when no one else could, including those of us on the staff,” said Linda Szemenyei, the community’s director of resident engagement.

For Jacobs, the achievement with the Wii reflects his lifelong love of baseball. He played the sport in high school and at the University of Southern California, and later on the team of the company where he worked. Other Silverado residents have used the Wii to play golf or tennis or to bowl. Some of those residents played the sports earlier in life, but not all of them did so.

Bringing the Wii to Silverado – San Juan Capistrano was the idea of its administrator, Carole Shaw. “I played with one in December and I had been reading about how senior citizens were enjoying it and using it for exercise,” Shaw said. “I hadn’t heard of it being played by people with Alzheimer’s disease, but I didn’t see any reason that our residents wouldn’t be able to use it. Our philosophy at Silverado is to always look at what people with memory impairment can do, rather than what they can’t do, and I thought this would be exciting.”

Lindberg Ross, 75, using daily flex care at Silverado – Calabasas found a new passion and hobby, Wii bowling. Rachelle Dardeau, Administrator at the community, says, “His big accomplishment is his Nintendo Wii bowling. Mr. Ross, practices every day and writes his score on a piece of paper. He takes it home he shares it with family, he shares it with his church group and he shares it with the staff before he leaves for the day.” For the past three years this community has been able to enjoy the thrill of sports and sense of accomplishment from this fun and interactive video game.

The sessions with the Wii are just one element in program of daily activities at Silverado that includes other kinds of exercise and recreation; time spent with children and animals and in outdoor gardens; participation in clubs for cooking, woodworking, and other interests; and much more. All are part of Silverado’s stated mission of “giving life” to those with Alzheimer’s and other memory-impairing diseases.

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