Wii a Smash Hit at Alzheimer's Community

Friday, October 10, 2008 General News
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SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif., Oct. 9 When John Jacobspicked up a Wii for the first time this year, he cracked a baseball with italmost immediately. His accomplishment would be significant for any noviceWii user, but it's particularly notable given that Jacobs has Alzheimer'sdisease.

Jacobs is one of about a dozen residents of Silverado Senior Living -- SanJuan Capistrano who have been demonstrating prowess with the Wii since March.Silverado Senior Living -- San Juan Capistrano provides assisted living forpeople with Alzheimer's and other memory-impairing diseases.

"Mr. Jacobs was able to hit the baseball when no one else could, includingthose of us on the staff," said Linda Szemenyei, the community's director ofresident engagement.

For Jacobs, the achievement with the Wii reflects his lifelong love ofbaseball. He played the sport in high school and at the University ofSouthern California, and later on the team of the company where he worked.Other Silverado residents have used the Wii to play golf or tennis or to bowl.Some of those residents played the sports earlier in life, but not all of themdid so.

Bringing the Wii to Silverado -- San Juan Capistrano was the idea of itsadministrator, Carole Shaw.

"I played with it and I had been reading about how senior citizens wereenjoying it and using it for exercise," Shaw said. "I hadn't heard of itbeing played by people with Alzheimer's Disease, but I didn't see any reasonthat our residents wouldn't be able to use it. Our philosophy at Silverado isto always look at what people with memory impairment can do, rather than whatthey can't do, and I thought this would be exciting."

Silverado staff searched for several months before finding a Wii availablefor purchase in March. Since then, residents have been gathering at 1:30 eachafternoon to use it.

Szemenyei noted that while some of the community's residents boxed earlierin their lives, so far that sport hasn't elicited interest.

Shaw said: "What our residents are doing with the Wii is a wonderfulexample of how much capacity and ability people with memory impairment have.It's so important for the world to understand this and to help each personwith memory disorder live to his or her full potential."

The sessions with the Wii are just one element in a program of dailyactivities at Silverado that include other kinds of exercise and recreation;time spent with children and animals and in outdoor gardens; participation inclubs for cooking, woodworking, and other interests; and much more. All arepart of Silverado's stated mission of "giving life" to those with Alzheimer'sand other memory-impairing diseases.

Silverado Senior Living-San Juan Capistrano is located in San JuanCapistrano, Calif. It is one of 17 memory care communities operated bySilverado Senior Living in California, Texas, Utah, and Arizona. Silveradooffers home care, care management and hospice care through its Silverado atHome and Silverado Hospice service lines in California, Texas, and Utah.Silverado is headquartered in San Juan Capistrano.

Silverado has research affiliations with leaders in the field ofAlzheimer's disease, including the University of California, San Diego; UCLA;UCI; USC; University of North Texas; Baylor College of Medicine; andUniversity of Utah. The company's web site is:http://www.Silveradosenior.com.

SOURCE Silverado Senior Living

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