One of the first games Linden Grove Mukwonago resident Janice Papke played on It's Never 2 Late was chess with high school volunteer Alex Jensen. They played for an hour and the game ended in a draw.
Papke decided to check out the new technology that came to Linden Grove this summer because she wanted to be able to Skype with her daughter. Before that she used a computer a little for email, but she said she wasn't "into it that much."
As Jensen showed Papke the different apps available through the program and how to maneuver through each with the touch screen monitor. they visited Papke's previous home in Big Bend via Google Earth. Before the Olympics started, they used an app that gave background on Rio and information on the events, medals standings, history, athletes and more.
Residents, like Papke, can set up their favorite apps on their own page, My Page, for easier access.
It's Never 2 Late, a state-of-the-art engagement system, provides thousands of computer apps for enhancing the lives and wellness of residents, allowing them to stay active and connected.
The system has "way more capacity than we are capable of," Papke pointed out.
Faith based apps allow residents to attend church services or listen to sermons.Email and Skype are easy to access. Exercise videos help keep residents moving.
The technology opens the seniors to "endless learning," said Laura Johnson, Linden Grove director of activities and volunteers. The system, with a touch screen computer and picture-based software, brings the world to the fingertips of residents, helping them keep up with current events and engaging them in technology they haven't explored.
Staff can use the technology to provide activities for residents when there are no planned activities taking place, Johnson said. Staff will be inserviced to learn how to use the technology to access apps for residents.
For large groups, the system can be projected on the television. The iN2L library is continually updated to bring timely topics to residents, Johnson explained.
The system can help with sensory stimulation for residents in memory care as their disease progresses. Games like popping bubbles floating on the screen requires the resident reach and touch bubbles and can challenge them to pop certain colors.
"We're always looking for opportunities to stimulate the senses," said Johnson.
Families can use the technology with their loved one, if they choose to, Johnson added.
There is an iN2L system are set up for each building on the Mukwonago campus. While the technology can be used in group programs, high school volunteers provide one-to-one tutoring for residents, like Papke, who want to use it on an individual basis and prefer the guidance and interaction with the high school students. Other residents are comfortable enough to explore the software on their own.
The Linden Grove Mukwonago campus has about six high school volunteers who work with residents, teaching them how to use the technology since the program came to the campus in June.
Students not only show residents how to use the technology, they've helped staff set up Skype and contact tech support when needed.
While the opportunity allows the youth to build leadership skills and strengthen mentoring skills, relationships also develop.
Jensen, a junior at the IT Academy at Mukwonago High School, heard about the opportunity from one of his teachers. Since he loves working with technology and loves teaching others about technology, he decided to volunteer, coming a couple of times a week during the summer.
"It's been very rewarding," said Jensen.
Papke jokes with him as they explore apps, challenging Jensen to a game of Family Feud. While Family Feud didn't end up in a draw, Jensen and Papke laughed through the whole game.
That's one of the aspects Johnson hoped would come of the intergenerational experience - friendships.
"You can't force relationships," Johnson said. "It's really cool."
"They've (students) done a very good job," Papke added. "We had a lot of fun. We're learning a lot of things."
To learn more about iN2L visit iN2L.com