Assistive Technology Blog
You are not the boss of me!
By Jean Des Roches, AT Program Director
I have known many fiercely independent people in my life. Most of them women. There was my dear aunt who lived on an old farm house and at the age of 80 something, insisted on climbing ladders and pruning trees, much to the horror of her children. There was my dear godmother who would cook huge (and delicious!) meals and then deliver them out to folks in the nursing home, just so they could have some good “home cooking”, again well into her 80’s. There are many other examples as well. So what? This is great! Isn’t that what we strive to instill in our children? Be independent! Do what you love!
This is all well and good until age and infirmity would suggest curtailing some of these things. Independence is never an easy thing to relinquish. When it was time for the gardener to stop pruning, she said “Hey, I’ve done this all of my life! Let me do this!” When it was time for the fantastic chef to take part in some physical therapy, she said “They can’t tell me what to do, I’m my own boss.”
The one I’ve heard most recently is from my mom, which is: “You are not the boss of ME!”, though usually still followed by a sly smile. She is at a crossroads right now – heading into a long-term nursing facility. I thought our days of playing Scrabble and memory games on the iPad were behind us, until this weekend.
Even though the standard memory boosting apps are too frustrating for her to enjoy now, I discovered she is really enjoying some apps that are purely for her entertainment. My Bowling 3D (free) is huge hit, even though back in the day she would have NEVER set foot in a bowling alley! Jigsaw HD (free) almost made her cry! She was so, so impressed by the cool graphics; she kept saying “Who invented this? This is great!” And who knew she would enjoy NodeBeat HD ($2.99), creating some fabulously cool music by just touching some dots on the screen!
Tonight we are trying Let’s Create! Pottery HD Lite (free), Flower Garden Free and MyReef 3D Aquarium 2 Lite, (free). She does require guidance, as many people in her situation would, but I learned firsthand how these games, along with some 1:1 personal attention, are able to dissolve her anxious and depressed moods, that come and go more and more often now. Is she increasing her memory skills? Sadly, no. But is the technology offering her new and interesting opportunities to have fun and distraction? Right now, happily YES!
Please don’t overlook the value of distraction. Simple games can act as AT by providing unique opportunities to de-stress. Have you found this to be true? Do you have apps you would like to share?
“In the confusion we stay with each other, happy to be together, speaking without uttering a single word.” - Walt Whitman