Nov 02, 2023

Garden Village brings interactive technology to its residents’ fingertips

Residents at Garden Village Port Macquarie enjoy the recently installed SMART Board technology, designed to promote cognitive engagement and learning. [Source: Facebook]

A residential aged care provider in the beachside town of Port Macquarie has embraced the world of technology to keep its residents engaged, installing interactive SMART Boards to boost their digital literacy and help address social isolation.

Key points

  • Garden Village Port Macquarie has installed innovative touchscreen technology SMART Interactive Displays as part of its commitment to digital transformation
  • Research has shown that interactive technology plays an important role in slowing down cognitive decline, providing countless opportunities for engagement in people living with dementia
  • Much like virtual reality technology, smart technology is being embraced by aged care providers looking for new activities, challenges and experiences for residents

If you walk into any school, chances are you’ll find a smart board sitting at the front of the classroom, occupying the space where a whiteboard or chalkboard used to be. But for the residents at Garden Village Port Macquarie, the addition of a smart board is a far cry from the chalkboards of their youth.

“I’ll admit, I’m amazed at televisions, let alone that,” one resident told NBN News, laughing as he did so.

Featuring 6,000 games and activities specifically designed and targeted for aged care residents, the SMART Boards installed at Garden Village offer residents a whole new world to explore. This is especially beneficial for residents that may have limited mobility and access to new experiences outside of the residential aged care home.

Garden Village CEO, Craig Wearne, is just as excited about the new technology as they are, explaining that the interactive boards mean they can participate in group activities perfectly suited to their abilities.

From left-to-right: Jeff Lowe, CCO of SMART Technologies, Craig Wearne Garden Village CEO, Claire Mathews Colourworks and Linda Southern Garden Village COO. [Source: Facebook]

“The world of smart tech is exciting, and we look forward to embracing innovative solutions to best support resident engagement, health, and wellbeing. The technology will provide opportunities to learn, have fun, play games and connect,” Mr Wearne said.

“A suite of programs will be available for residents to experience the benefits of interactive art, online puzzles, games, and videos. It’s a positive way to support cognitive capabilities such as memory, attention and perception, especially for residents living with dementia.”

Over 85% of Garden Village residents live with dementia, meaning the new technology is the perfect addition as they can enjoy a variety of activities and experiences in a familiar setting. 

The easy-to-use technology is also designed with simplicity in mind, meaning there will be very few hurdles for residents to jump over as they strengthen their digital literacy skills. Australians in their 70s and 80s are among those who struggle the most using digital devices or accessing the internet. Providing inclusive tools focused on learning and engagement is the perfect way to improve their understanding of technology. 

“Technology has a great way to help seniors make connections with their past but also with their future,” Jeff Lowe, CCO of SMART Technologies, told NBN News.

“Curiously enough the benefits are very similar to being a young learner. It’s all about engagement, interactivity, a sense of collaboration, a sense of purpose and learning.” 

Garden Village said it also hopes the learnings will flow onto other areas of technology use, including when residents are accessing telehealth appointments or online portals such as MyAgedCare.

The SMART Board rollout is part of a global trial with research also occurring in Spain and the United States.

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