In 2019, thanks to a grant from the William and Blanche Hetzel Foundation, the Immanuel Foundation was able to help Immanuel Lutheran Communities acquire its first iN2L (It’s Never Too Late) system for our residents with dementia. This system provides stimulation, entertainment, and remote communication with family members.
Designed especially for seniors with dementia, the iN2L includes a large touch screen as well as a webcam and other connectivity features. Each resident has a personalized profile from which they can navigate to the games and experiences they most enjoy. For example, one resident loves to play the “bubble popping” game, in which she tracks bubbles that appear on screen and then pops them. In addition to providing entertainment, this game also provides offers mental stimulation and the ability to practice hand-eye coordination. Some residents enjoy just watching others play the bubble popping game and cheering them on. In these ways, the iN2L plays a therapeutic and social role in the residents’ experience.
Our first iN2L has been in use in the Lodge at Buffalo Hill for about two years. Recently, thanks to state grants and individual donations, we’ve been able to add two new units in the Immanuel Skilled Care Center. This means that residents who require skilled nursing care—many of whom are low-income—now also have access to this technology. They can play games, revisit old haunts via Google street view, and visit remotely with their families via Skype.
In fact, the iN2L systems have been a particular boon during the coronavirus crisis. All of Immanuel Lutheran Communities was closed to visitors from mid-March 2020 until March 2021. Residents could not see their loved ones in-person for much of this time, and when they were able to meet, they had glass barriers between them. The iN2L provided an easy, familiar way for residents to communicate remotely with their family members. Staff can preload family contact info into a resident’s profile, and during calls, residents can see their loved ones on the screen. Staff have noted that the iN2L “takes technology out of” video calling, making this vital contact easier for both staff and residents.
Thank you so much to all the donors who helped us add this technology to our community! Our residents love using it, and it has made a meaningful difference in their lives.