Embracing Technology to Enhance Lives

From iPads and iPods to ‘It’s Never 2 Late,’ villages are embracing new ideas

By Kristian Partington

Technological innovations have a seemingly endless impact on our lives – in some ways this can seem to do more harm than good but within Schlegel Villages, new technologies are enhancing lives and complementing the core relationships between team members, families, residents and the community.  


At Sandalwood Park, young people with iPads from a neighbouring schoolconnected with residents to share time and create digital portfolios of their lives, while at Tansley Woods, residents have been taking part in volunteer-provided educationon how to advance their understanding of technology.

The music and memory program allows families and team members to provide personalized music via iPods for people who are living with memory loss, and across our villages the impact can be seen.

At the Village of Wentworth Heights, a six-week iPad training program has reshaped the way some residents connect with their loved ones and the computer system they lovingly dub WALL-E, officially known as It’s Never 2 Late, has provided a wealth of new opportunities to engage residents in the past few months.

“It has been the most phenomenal tool,” says recreation director Heather Luth when describing WALL-E. “This thing is out every single day.”

The system is designed in a way that residents of all abilities are able to access an immense amount of programs, from games to music to simplified connections through e-mail and Skype to loved ones who live far away.

Heather looks back to the training session they had earlier this year, where everyone from the recreation team to the chaplain to the kinesiolgist were on hand to learn about the system. The trainer, who’d arrived from Colorado and has trained people all across North America, had never seen a multi-disciplinary team like this.

Everyone learned about they system and everyone saw in it a different way to connect with residents, Heather says, and that’s why it’s had such a great impact.

“It has blown us away,” Heather says, describing how something as simple as BINGO has taken on a new life because a team member that was once tied up calling the numbers is now free to work their way through the crowd interacting with residents and helping them.

Sharon Pearce, the village chaplain, uses it every time she’s in the village, Heather points out, because it allows her to enhance her services for groups and customize meditations and devotionals for individual residents. There was an Italian woman who speaks very little English, yet would sit through services she could barely understand because faith was extremely important to her.

When Sharon found an Italian version of the rosaries upon the computer, the resident was enthralled. Perhaps it may seem a small thing, but to a devout woman who has trouble communicating, it’s “earth-shattering,” as Heather puts it.

Across the villages, new technologies are helping enhance life quality for residents and provide team members different opportunities to connect with those they serve – it’s part of the innovative approach to the future that guides the path of the organization.