The Baddour Center is moving to the next phase of embracing technology! In addition to our open computer lab that all of our residents have access to, we are now able to assist residents with new technology in a variety of ways. The amount of goods and services online has compelled most of us to adapt to the undeniable changes brought to us by technology. Nowadays, having a device capable of internet connectivity is almost a necessity. Here at The Baddour Center, residents and staff recognize the potential of the internet and are taking advantage of the possibilities it provides. Whether it is learning a new technique or communicating with family, our residents and staff will find a way to accomplish it digitally. The Baddour Center embraces technology and hopes to encourage resident engagement and enhance the quality of life through modern technology.
Jodie Ross, our performing and creative arts Music Therapist, teaches here at Baddour. Her classes are designed to meet the special needs of each unique individual. She designs classes to assist residents in overcoming a variety of obstacles, mostly related to motor skills, memory, and socializing. For Jodie, having access to certain technology has helped improve the quality of her sessions. According to Jodie, "iPads have helped to broaden the spectrum of creativity by giving residents access to instruments and allowing them to be more creative musically." She is grateful for the iPads as they have helped residents achieve PCP (Person Centered Planning) goals. Often, you will find Jodie practicing with the 'AirJamz' device, an app-enabled Bluetooth guitar pick that lets you strum your imaginary 'air guitar', turning your motions into music. Apps such as this one have allowed her to accommodate residents with musical talent by converting her iPad into an instrument. Among residents’ favorite apps is the music app GarageBand, a free program that features a recording studio that also turns an iPad into a collection of Touch Instruments. She can share music from her iPad with her students anywhere they decide to practice, including outdoors. A key component to her music sessions being successful is the ability to look up requested songs on the fly. This alone has convinced Jodie of the necessity of an iPad in her classroom.
Julie Hanks, our Enrichment Coordinator, uses a combination of Apple products to inspire and engage the group of residents she works with. Enrichment is the program dedicated to our aging population who have intellectual disabilities. When asked about her technical approach to caretaking, she redirected the attention to her group and asked them how they used technology in the activity room. The consensus was clear: they use an iPad to research topics from their daily lesson plans and questions that arise in their everyday conversations. One example of how to use an iPad while teaching is the way in which Julie is able to project what is on her iPad screen on to an Apple TV screen, allowing the whole group to see it. The group interacts with the Apple TV through programs downloaded with the iPad. Julie lists the more popular games that residents request: "Word to Word" (a word association game that helps broaden vocabulary), “Deal or No Deal”, “Paper Toss” (harnessing the power of physics), “Guess the Brand”, "What’s the Restaurant," and of course the classics, "Wheel of Fortune" and “The Price is Right.”
Thanks to the generosity of the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, we were able to purchase a state-of-the-art, interactive smart board called a Promethean board. It has been the center of attention for students enrolled in our SAIL program. The Promethean board can either be a standalone touchscreen computer or a device that can be projected on to. Challi Disorbo, Baddour Center’s manager of SAIL, is immensely grateful for the new addition and says she has observed “a world of difference in terms of fostering both independent and collaborative learning.” She describes how the user-friendly board allows residents to easily and independently navigate from one program to another. With up to 10 simultaneous touch points, multiple persons can use the Promethean board at the same time. Challi believes this will encourage cooperative learning with all her students. She points out, “Those with a broader skill set are able to share what they know with their peers whose skills may be more limited.” The Promethean board allows residents who struggle with fine motor activities to enjoy and participate in activities on a larger scale where they may have been incapable of succeeding prior to being introduced to the board.
Entertainment technology is certainly fun, but nothing will rival what awaits us in the medical realm of technology. The beginning phases of wearable gadgets that collect health stats are among us and we, staff and residents, have embraced this new territory with a simple device made by Fitbit. A popular tech item at the center is a Fitbit tracker. These devices, which look like fancy watches, track every part of your day including activity, exercise, food, weight, and sleep. Throughout the day, the trackers sync resident stats wirelessly to an app or a computer for individual goal management. Each resident receives a progress report, by email, displaying all the goals achieved for the week. Tena Smith, one of our case managers at Baddour, started the trend weeks ago. She says the Fitbit devices have assisted in developing a better sense of community, especially in the Saleeby house. She explains, “With help from the Fitbit app, the girls are able to see how others in the group are performing, which has proven to be a positive motivator in keeping them active.” Since implementing the Fitbit challenge, the Saleeby house has collectively walked 2.7 million steps in the last month.
Without a doubt, the internet has enhanced the quality of life for residents here at The Baddour Center. Our phenomenal staff, who have willingly stepped outside their comfort zones and learned to utilize new technology, is one of our greatest assets in harnessing modern technology for our residents. The love and generosity of donors and volunteers is what gives our small community the nourishment it needs to blossom and grow.