In 2019, thanks to a generous donor, Providence Care’s Providence Manor was able to purchase the ABBY System. This amazing piece of equipment uses touch screen technology to allow residents living with dementia to participate in activities they were previously unable to do. The residents can pet a furry cat, watch TV, choose radio stations, play games and even drive a car.
“I cannot say enough about the benefits that we have seen with the ABBY,” says Danielle Preston, outgoing Recreation and Volunteer Services Coordinator at Providence Manor. “Providing our residents with this kind of engagement, and giving families and visitors opportunities to experience meaningful visits, is literally everything that we are here to do.”
The ABBY provides significant emotional and intellectual benefits, as well as physical improvements to mobility.
“We had one resident who was 98, completely non-verbal and in a wheelchair that was quite low to the ground. Not only did she make it to the furthest level of the matching game without any instruction, but she also practiced her mobility for the hours that she played,” Danielle explains. “Her physiotherapist was blown away by the improvements in her arms and fingers. It was also very moving for her niece who hadn’t seen her engage like that in years.”
The ABBY is located on a secure unit where the majority of the population lives with dementia or a related illness. It can be hard for family members when they come to see their loved ones to have meaningful conversations, but that’s where the ABBY comes in. It offers families the opportunity to avoid any difficult moments and the related distress, by creating a space where they can witness residents engage and interact in these activities.
“It just means so much to the residents and the families to have these kinds of connections,” says Danielle. “It also fills my soul with so much joy and happiness to be able to share stories or pictures with the families of their loved ones using the ABBY. It really gives them a sense of comfort and relief.”