New technology brings the world to Grace Healthcare
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The 32 residents of Grace Healthcare Center can now hop on the Internet and surf to their heart’s content, thanks to the installation of a computer system known as It’s Never 2 Late (IN2L).
Or, if surfing the net gets boring, they can play games or use Skype to have a face-to-face online visit with friends or relatives far away.
“We’re able to Skype, and surf the net on Google,” said the center’s activities director, Barrie Moorman, with evident pride.
Across the room, her 13-year old daughter, Silence, a Riverside Middle School student, was working with a group of residents learning how to use the new technology.
Today, said Silence, the group had checked out Google Earth, zooming in on the homes residents had lived in over the years.
The Google Earth “trips,” Barrie Moorman said, give the residents a fun trip through hyperspace to places in their past, and a little peace of mind from seeing that the places of memory are still there.
Silence said she is not yet completely confident using the IN2L software.
“I guess we can just learn together,” she said.
The computer has a touch screen instead of a keyboard and mouse, and the software is geared toward simplicity of function and comprehension. Symbols that appear on the monitor are large format, as are the animated graphics and instructional text on the screen.
By reaching out with a special tool, users can advance from one stage of an activity to the next.
The IN2L software package was introduced at Grace by the facility’s administrator, Michael Boyles. He had worked with the technology at Grace Healthcare centers in other communities.
Moorman, who works most closely with the residents using the new computer system, said it’s a learning experience for staff as well as for the residents.
“We got this, like, a week ago, so it’s still pretty new,” she said during an interview on Dec. 22.
Among the unexpected results of a little surfing and searching, she said, was a recent virtual trip to the National Zoo, part of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., where cameras in the habitats of several animals allow web visitors to see what’s going on.
But the games, Moorman said, are the most popular programs right now. Residents can quickly learn how to navigate on their own.
“It’s remarkable,” said Doris Davis, originally from Grand Junction, as she played a game of Goofy Gofer. “I never thought I’d see the day when we had so many things” to play with, she said.
She said she had not picked a favorite game yet.
“There’s a lot of daytime games that we’ve been playing, and we’ve had fun,” she added.
Betty Hollenbaugh of Glenwood Springs said she has learned to play Wheel of Fortune and The Price Is Right on the computer, which she indicated is good enough for now.
According to Moorman, only about 10 of the residents have been actively using the system, although she hopes that number will grow.
Grace resident Michael Recio of New Castle is confined to a large power chair following an accident in 2009. He has yet to try the computer out because he can’t get close enough, due to the front extensions of his chair.
He and Moorman bantered back and forth for a bit about whose fault it was, hers or his, that he hadn’t gotten online yet.
“She’s doing all she can to get me on the computer,” he said with a smile.
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