When Pam Lewis learned about a resource that could enhance the quality of life for Cherry Village Benevolence residents, she began seeking more information.
The result is a fundraising campaign for a large touch-screen computer with software that can specifically help people with anxiety, depression and dementia.
Lewis, Cherry Village administrator, said she has already received a $400 anonymous donation for the computer that will cost between $1,200 and $1,400.
In addition, a portable, adjustable-height computer stand will be necessary. Its cost will be $500 to $800.
Cherry Village is a non-profit, 501c3 long-term-care facility.
“This computer promises to enhance quality of life by engaging residents in activities that use visuals and music,” Lewis said. “It can help normalize their lives.
“For example, music can take us back to another time frame,” she said. “Our residents can then share fond memories of another time with family and friends.”
Since the onset of this project, Lewis has collaborated with Leann Zimmerman, an independent advanced practice registered nurse. Zimmerman, who specializes in family practice and psychiatry, consults with many long-term-care facilities in Kansas.
“The computer allows individual and group activities to engage the residents,” said Zimmerman, a Hays resident. “For instance, it can be used as a diversion when someone is anxious by playing videos of kittens or puppies, or other calming scenes.
“It also is a learning tool that encourages a resident to think while participating in a matching game, which helps memory,” Zimmerman added. “This keeps the mind alert as a resident tries to accomplish a task, such as matching cards or other items.”
In addition, the computer can be used for viewing church services and enjoying face time with loved ones. “Residents can feel like they are part of the service or family event such as a wedding,” Zimmerman noted.
The technology also is helpful to the Cherry Village staff, Zimmerman pointed out.
“This can help staff members reach residents whose memory has severely declined,” she said. “The computer will enhance their efforts to calm and reassure residents.
“The nurses are genuine in their compassion and caregiving. I have seen nurses at Cherry Village provide that loving touch and handholding that is often the most important aspect of providing care.”
Zimmerman has been visiting Cherry Village monthly for several years, and works with local physicians, focusing on patients’ psychiatric needs.
She also practices at Rooks County Hospital in Plainville, seeing patients in Doctors Without Delay, the urgent-care, walk-in clinic there.
For more information about the computer or to make a donation, contact Erin Lewis, marketing director at Cherry Village, 1401 Cherry Lane, Great Bend, Ks. 67530. Her number is 620-792-2165.
Pam Lewis noted that any extra money collected could help with another memory program that will start later this year.
A local family has managed Cherry Village since it opened in 1978.