Q&A: Player Dignity

Question: 

We love the RESTORE technology; however, one concern we have is that many of the games appear “child-like” and we worry about this from a dignity standpoint with our senior population. Have you had anyone else with this concern?  Any insight is appreciated. 

 

Answer: 

Thank you for the feedback and important question. 

Our platform takes into consideration that the majority of skilled nursing residents have a degree of cognitive impairment (in addition to any physical limitations). From my OT and Dementia Capable Care background, we have applied the theory of retrogenesis (back to birth) to our platform. That is not to say treat adults like children, but to appreciate that their developmental ability levels have regressed to the chronological age of 4-16 years old. It is important to keep simplistic themes, actions, and graphics for our population and to be able to grade the games based on the degree of difficulty settings.

 

RESTORE Player Testimonial

The most important key is to ensure an individual is able to experience success. We do not receive concerns related to graphics when the therapists and care partners have ensured the player meets with success and not frustration. Since many have not played these types of games before, the hesitancy is more related to anxiety that they will not perform well and therefore may remark that it is stupid or for kids, but this is typically a defense mechanism.

Video games are the most popular consumed media today and have officially overtaken the sport and movie industries in 2021. We are talking about games like Candy Crush, Mario Kart, Bubble Pop, etc. I'm currently addicted to a Harry Potter Match 3 game (and not even a huge Harry Potter fan lol). If you love games and you love competition, the graphics/animations are secondary to your success and FUN!

 

 

Get Your Game on with Grandma

How video games can strengthen the relationships seniors value most

While the vast majority of video gaming enthusiasts are millennials, a growing crop of older adults are accessing video gaming technology for entertainment, cognitive stimulation, physical activity, and social fulfillment. They’re even making video games a part of their health and well being.

During the pandemic, the increased adoption of video games among seniors is proving to be more important than ever. This is especially true for skilled nursing and senior living residents in need of a lifeline to counter the effects of social isolation and loneliness.

Some senior care centers are even using video games as a means of skill-building, applying newly developed therapy and wellness technologies into their clinical approach. In my work as CCO and occupational therapist at RESTORE-Skills, I regularly see seniors use gaming technology to reach therapy milestones faster and improve physical and cognitive abilities. At the same time, they’re strengthening relationships with loved ones and friends by connecting virtually via fun, therapeutic video games on our platform. This happens all from the safety of their rooms.

All of this comes as no surprise to those studying the impact of video games on seniors. A study of adults ages 60-80 published recently in Behavioural Brain Research indicated that video games may be used to enhance cognitive health in older adults. The findings suggest that both novel experiences and exposure to rich three-dimensional environments may work together to improve cognition.

Based on these findings and my own experience, skilled nursing facilities and senior living communities need to become early adopters of this new technology or be left behind.

Tournament gaming enhances social connections and fosters a sense of community

Users of RESTORE-Skills also benefit socially and emotionally by playing virtual tournaments against friends and family as part of their therapy and wellness regiment. What’s more, they’re sharing a common language with Millennial and Gen Z grandchildren outside of these sessions. 

This is because there can be limits to conversation among seniors and their loved ones, especially for those in skilled nursing homes dealing with language impairments. It doesn’t help that many younger people are accustomed to rarely making phone calls, preferring text and social media apps instead. 

The wider the generation gap, the harder it is today to make small talk.

Unless you’re talking about video games. 

Skilled nursing and senior living residents learn a new language to share with younger relatives

Consider the following example from among skilled nursing patients we have served in therapy. A male patient, and former salesman with a gift for gab, suffered a stroke and had expressive aphasia, limiting his ability to communicate. He also had limited movement of his right upper and lower extremities. When we introduced him to our therapy video game solution, he was eager to give it a try. Although he had never played video games before, he considered it a way to impress and relate to his son and grandson, both avid video game players. 

This patient is one of many.

 

 

A study published in Sage Journals revealed that sharing in video games fosters relationships and connections while producing positive emotions for both grandparents and grandchildren. “As a consequence, game designers should take into consideration ways to enhance these social aspects of gameplay.”

Seniors who play video games now have a shared language to connect with their kids or grandkids. Instead of brief conversations about what’s happening at school, they can instead play a game together and make it part of the patient’s therapy exercises. 

Prior to the pandemic, one 88-year old senior living resident and great-grandmother was introduced to a virtual skill-building therapy session to improve her range of motion, coordination, and ability to perform activities of daily living. She willingly participated but wasn’t overly enthusiastic. 

Ten minutes into the session, her two great-grandsons surprised her with a visit, raced into the room and asked for a turn. She shared her red ball-shaped controller, and the boys took turns sitting on her lap while they waited to play. 

The staff later learned this was the first time one of the boys, who has autism, had ever entered his grandma’s room willingly and engaged physically. Such is the potential healing and connective power of this essential language and activity. 

This kind of interaction makes a difference in any scenario, but especially in a season where grandkids are holding up signs at windows of skilled nursing facilities in lieu of actual visits.

 

Video games create generational connection while providing crucial therapy

Learning the language of video gaming gives both family members and their senior relatives a productive way to spend time together. And, the pandemic has led more seniors to be open to adopting new technology out of pure necessity.

In 2020, the pandemic propelled the video game industry to make more money than movies and North American sports combined. There’s no indication this will slow in 2021.

As more people adopt video gaming technology, the benefits are clear. Research is showing the power of video gaming, especially on cognition of older adults; making it crucial that video games are widely adopted by healthcare. 

Adding therapy to video games and enabling families to connect through the technology is an incredible opportunity for post-acute rehab providers especially. 

 

Making therapy fun with video games leads to better outcomes

Refusals are always a challenge for healthcare professionals to overcome, especially in skilled nursing and rehab facilities. However, making therapy and wellness sessions fun and engaging can lead to more positive outcomes. 

One male patient who had a history of multiple falls and therefore a reluctance to leave his room was refusing physical therapy support. However, he eagerly agreed to try out the RESTORE-Skills video gaming platform as a fun way to achieve his balance goals and reduce his risk of falling. 

He was able to virtually ski in a world cup race, pull a slot machine handle to win a jackpot, and rock climb to the top of an ancient temple – all interests he had never experienced before. As soon as he finished his session, he shared how excited he was to tell his grandson all about his experience. He actually remained in the therapy clinic to watch and encourage others as they participated. 

Making video gaming accessible for seniors

The key to successfully adopting video gaming technology for those in senior care centers is making the video games accessible and user friendly. Any video gaming technology for seniors must have the following features: 

  • Easy to access
  • Easy to learn
  • Easy to use
  • Gradable (adaptable to an individual’s abilities)
  • Relatable
  • Meaningful
  • Have audio and video call compatibility

Access to virtual communities of friends and peers

Besides making therapy fun, video games inspire users to play and achieve more through gamification. Competition, collaboration, achievements, and a sense of community drive people to meet their goals in an enjoyable way. 

Our RESTORE-Together feature allows patients and players to play interactively with loved ones and friends in a facility or across the country from the safety of their rooms. One patient’s siblings were unable to visit during a recent short-term rehabilitation admission. They worried that their phone calls didn’t provide enough meaningful connection. 

The healthcare team coordinated for the patient’s siblings to join his therapy session to encourage him and participate themselves. They watched their brother stand for ten minutes at a “slot machine,” trying to win the jackpot with a weighted controller. It was a huge improvement over his previous best record of only one minute.

The therapist was then able to send a code to the patient’s siblings so they could play a slot machine tournament together, followed by a “Let it Snow Bingo” game that helped with hand-eye coordination, sustained attention, strengthening, and activity tolerance. 

Being able to share this experience with others is a key to healing success. 

 

In-room player

The fact that seniors can use video games to connect to their loved ones is an added bonus to the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial benefits the technology offers. The gamification and fun aspects make programs like RESTORE-Skills appealing enough for seniors to work on skills more effectively. 

Confidence to strengthen the mind, body, and social connections that matter most  

When seniors have access to video game technology for skill-building, they experience greater confidence, as well as an increased desire to regain social skills and connections. Even the staff enjoys training and learning how to use this technology to benefit their patients. 

Video games are most successful when they are easy to access, easy to learn, and easy to use. The game must also be gradable, or adaptable to an individual’s ability. The more relatable and meaningful the games are to the individual, the more the patient is excited to use the program. 

Skilled nursing facilities and senior living communities must adapt to offer residents the opportunity to learn the language of video games. By creating virtual communities, tournaments, avatars, and immersive experiences in a world without borders, seniors can work on developing skills in a meaningful, collaborative and entertaining way.

Just don’t be surprised when grandma gets the high score! 

WREG News Live at 9

NEWS: RESTORE-Skills featured on WREG News Live at 9

RESTORE-Skills' CEO, Eran Arden, spoke with Jerrita Patterson on WREG News' Live at 9 about connecting seniors & their loved ones.

Patterson: More and more senior citizens are really lining up to get coronavirus vaccines across the country. But for many in nursing homes, the pandemic continues to keep them isolated from both family and friends. Now, a new platform is changing the way loved ones can interact all while staying safely apart. This morning, we're live with the CEO of RESTORE-Skills, Eran Arden, to learn more about RESTORE-Together.

Patterson: Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is a motivational therapy platform, correct? Explain what this is about.

Arden: Jerrita, thank you very much! Yeah, you are correct. RESTORE-Skills is a gaming enviornment that motivates residents in nursing homes to continue building and matain the skills they need to live independetly. We use a simple computer, so no expensive devices needed, and we have about 200 activities all designed to motivate the patients to stay active. [They can] work on their sit to stand skills, motor skills, range of motion and everything in between all while playing games.

Arden: When the pandemic started, we also realized we also want to help connect family members to their loved ones in the facilities. So, we created an enviornment where residents that are isolated [in their room] can play with their loved ones [who are] at home.

Patterson: What has been the reaction from those in nursing homes? What have you heard? What have you seen so far?

Arden: The reaction is amazing and that's what empowers us to wake up in the morning and develop the [platform] and our games.

Check out the full interview on WREG News' Live at 9 Facebook page HERE!

bingo

“Let It Snow Bingo” is LIVE!

You asked, we delivered! We know your residents have missed the excitement of competition that comes with their regularly attended bingo game. The pandemic has limited seniors’ ability to engage in this tried and true activity, so we responded by creating a virtual version of the classic game. 

Traditional BINGO encourages socialization, helps maintain cognition, and promotes eye-hand coordination. Plus, it’s just plain fun! Now, your residents can play interactively with their loved ones, peers in their center, and/or with other players across the country - all from the safety of their rooms or in a socially distanced setting!

Let It Snow Bingo

Use your controller to spin the cage, pick up a BINGO ball, and either place it on your card or place it in the discard bin next to your board. Don't forget to press "BINGO" when you complete a row vertically (up/down), horizontally (across), or diagonally. Get points for placing balls and getting as many BINGOs as you can before time runs out! 

 

Skills Addressed: Functional reach, eye-hand coordination, sustained attention, concentration, decision-making, activity tolerance

Let it Snow BINGO
Let it Snow BINGO

Clinical Benefits of Let it Snow Bingo:

  • Physical benefits: Upper extremity coordination and functional reach, activity tolerance, and balance for sitting or standing.
  • Cognitive benefits: Sustained attention, goal-directed, concentration, decision making, scanning
  • Social benefits: Mitigate social isolation by competing with others (i.e. family members, friends, other patients or residents)

Be sure to log in and check out “Let it Snow Bingo” for yourself. Better yet, set up a multiplayer game for your residents to connect with their loved ones today! Don’t have access and want to learn more? Give us a call (234) 303-0723 or send us an email info@restoreskills.com to schedule your live demo.

Spectrum 1 News Ohio

NEWS: RESTORE-Skills featured on Spectrum 1 News Ohio

Below is an excerpt from the story from Spectrum 1 News Ohio:

CLEVELAND — Elizabeth Sims and her caregiver admit that since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, things haven’t been the same at The Heights Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Broadview Heights. Pandemic restrictions have cut out communal dining, team exercise and group therapy at facility.

“Before, we used to be able to be down in the therapy gym. So, it would be fun because they're all around people; you could play games and now, you're really stuck in the rooms with the patients,” Sims says.

Things have taken a turn for the better at the facility. Residents started connecting virtually through RESTORE-Skills, a computer based motivational therapy platform with a multiplayer function that now allows patients the ability to play skill-building games with one another.

“At least they can interact and you're using technology and they can still get involved and do some kind of fun…and it helps her cognitive skills.”  Tina Wilson’s caregiver says.

Check out the full interview with our CEO, Eran Arden, and the team from The Heights HERE!

GAMES FOR SKILL BUILDING

New Multiplayer Activity: Plinko Party

If you love to play our hit game “Jackpot” then get ready for our new game “Plinko Party”Players can experience the FUN of virtually dropping their tokens into a Plinko board either individually in a therapy session, remotely with their loved ones & peers, or even participate in live, nationwide gaming tournaments -- all from the safety of their rooms!

games for skill building

Plinko Party 

Players can experience the excitement of the classic game show favorite, with RESTORE’s interactive Plinko board! To play, use the controller to guide the on-screen hand to the falling tokens. Hold the hand over a token to select it and pick it up. Move the hand with a token to the top of the Plinko board. Choose a slot and hold your position to release the token. Watch it drop down the board until it reaches one of the point totals! Bonus tokens give players the opportunity to multiply their score, but watch out, the board is dynamic, so the scores will shuffle as they play!

games for therapy

Clinical Benefits of Plinko Party

  • Physical benefits: Upper extremity coordination and functional reach, activity tolerance, and balance for sitting or standing.
  • Cognitive benefits: Sustained attention, goal-directed, concentration, decision making, scanning
  • Social benefits: Mitigate social isolation by competing with others (i.e. family members, friends, other patients or residents)

Be sure to login to check out “Plinko Party” for yourself. Better yet, set up a multiplayer game for your residents to connect with their loved ones today! Don’t have access and want to learn more? Give us a call (234) 303-0723 or send us an email info@restoreskills.com to schedule your live demo.

abc7 San Francisco

NEWS: RESTORE-Skills featured on ABC7 San Francisco

Below is an excerpt from the story from ABC7 News San Francisco:

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Health is an important aspect of Building a Better Bay Area.

As patients at care facilities are dealing with prolonged social isolation with visits from families curtailed or not allowed, caregivers are turning to multi-player skill games to improve patient outcomes.

Bingo has always been a popular way to engage patients in care facilities to use their minds, hands, and arms. COVID-19 has not only stopped that, but also visits from loved ones.
"If we don't have friends and peers to work with, then you know, then we, unfortunately, don't have the motivation to practice and to live longer," said Eran Arden, CEO at Restore Skills. RESTORE-Skills is a cloud-based platform with a library of 50 games that occupational therapists can use for rehabilitation and skills development.
51-year-old Mike Willham has multiple sclerosis. Moving a ball in his hand to play a slot machine game is more than just having fun at winning jackpots. "It allows me to move my left arm from side to side and up and down. And it has built up strength in the left arm," said Willham as he made those moves. An up and down motion with the ball caused the arm on the slot machine to activate."
It's helping with cognition, it helps with fine motor, gross motor coordination, strengthening," said Carrie Blum, an occupational therapy assistant at The Heights Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center. "It's been helping with their endurance and activity tolerance."

Check out the full interview with our CEO, Eran Arden, and the team from The Heights HERE!

WBOC Good Day Delmarva

NEWS: RESTORE-Skills featured on WBOC’s Good Day Delmarva

Below is an excerpt from the story from Good Day Delmarva

For today's Wellness Wednesday, Sydney speaks with Joe Asseline with the Westgate Hills Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center to learn about the steps they're taking to provide contact-less care during the ongoing pandemic. 

Today with the help of Westgate Hills Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Baltimore, Maryland we discover ways in which they're reaching goals with a contactless approach.

Joe: I've been working at Westgate Hills Rehab for the past year and a half. My goal is to help patient's restore their function & independence through actiticties of daily living and self-care tasks. 

Sydney: How are have you noticing that certain facilities or even yours are turning to technology to help folks get the therapy and attention that they need? 

Joe: In my sesssion, I find it's very important to use video chat...we've also been able to use this really cool RESTORE virtual reality game system. RESTORE is a syetm that we are able to bring therapeutic activties and excercises into the rooms of patients. Not only that, there's a new feature that they've just rolled out that we're able to video chat in with the families so they can add words of encouragement. It's really cool! I find that they're always asking to use it because they think the games are really fun, 

Check it out the full interview with Joe Asselin, OTR/L HERE!

senoirs in long term care connecting with families

NEWS: RESTORE-Skills CEO on ABC’s Local 24 News

RESTORE-Skills CEO interviewed on Memphis' Local 24 News (ABC)

Below is an excerpt from the story on tech in skilled nursing

There is a new way some Tennesseans are connecting to loved ones in facilities. Virtually.  It's called Restore-Skills.com. It's a computer-based occupational and physical therapy gaming program. All someone in a long term care facility needs is a laptop to use it. Restore has been on the market since 2019, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, its creators expanded its capabilities to allow family members to virtually join in.   

"We wanted to create fun and meaningful activities, so we added the ability to connect the family member to the game while doing the activity," said Eran Arden, Restore-Skills CEO.

Arden says there is a list of games a therapist can pick from, depending on what skills the patients needs to work on. During the sessions, family members can get looped in.

"Once they join they would see the patient live and the game running," said Arden. "They can see the loved ones moving their shifting balance left and right while skiing the slopes."

Arden says family members can cheer the person in the nursing home, and there are even games that can be played together.

Check it out in full HERE!

nursing home visitation

RESTORE featured in WTBU Radio story

RESTORE-Skills featured in a WTBU Radio (Boston) story titled, “Mass. Longterm Care Facilities Welcome Socially Distant Visitors"

Below is an excerpt from the story on visitation

Amanda Telesca is the Director of Rehab at the North End Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, which has 100 beds and about 150 staff members.  Telesca estimated that the average age of the residents is between 75 and 85 years old.

In April, her facility started receiving new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about limiting gatherings and visits. With the new changes, though, came tradeoffs for seniors.

The North End facility started using the RESTORE Skills therapy program, an online, web-cam based program that has a teleconferencing feature so family members can join the virtual therapy sessions.  Physical therapy exercises are incorporated into games, which RESTORE skills developers say keep residents engaged in the session.

The facility’s goal is to prepare residents to return home and Telesca said that using a technological therapy tool has benefits beyond the physical therapy aspect.

“It is a lot of fun and it’s a good tool to use, as far as coordination goes and technology-wise, training people to use their laptops and preparing for home that way,” Telesca said.

 

Check it out in full HERE!