Sometimes older people declare they are not “technical”, “don’t like”, “don’t care about”, “never did get into computers”. It’s been our experience, however, that once we take out the iPad, show a few pictures or play a simple game suddenly everyone is interested. Maybe it’s that “computer” or “technology” is an abstract idea that some people would prefer to avoid but once it becomes personal, once it becomes something that has “my pictures” or “my games” on it, those abstract ideas evaporate.
A tablet is very intuitive, the interface is directly between the hand and the brain – no keyboard, no remote control, no mouse. There is no need to be able to see a tiny cursor. You can easily put it on a table or hold it in your lap and weighs about the same amount as a book. The screen glows and it’s easy to see. It’s small and friendly and when there are pictures on it of grandchildren, pets and memories, it stops being “technology” it becomes yours.
We’ve had one funny experience while testing SilverLark on Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in board and care facilities that has repeated itself over and over. After playing for a while, sometimes one of our subjects will tell us that although they are enjoying the game and like using the iPad, they think that the other people in the facility would not be “with it” enough to handle it. Sometimes they tell us they like it but that other people just aren’t into technology. Comments like that show that the person using the iPad is proud of the fact that they themselves are “with it” and capable of using a hi tech device. SilverLark games are simple but can open the door to something new for dementia patients. We all like to feel that we can learn something new and to someone with Alzheimer’s who has so many doors closing, going through that new door might just feel good.