merriman house

A Merriman House resident plays Piggy Bankers on the It's Never 2 Late system. (COURTESY PHOTO)

CONWAY — Sharon, a resident at the Merriman House Nursing Home at Memorial Hospital, touches a computer screen to open her favorite game, “Piggy Bankers.”

Sharon is the game’s ringleader — she corrals many of other residents to play the word scramble game alongside her.

This group game is a daily occurrence at Merriman House, which is home to 40 residents and two "It’s Never 2 Late" (iN2L) computer systems that offer senior-friendly applications and programs.

The iN2L computer system is a picture-based touch screen that allows residents to easily navigate their way to interactive educational, spiritual and personalized content for their ability level.

From using email and photos to connect with family and friends, to improving hand-eye coordination, residents with a wide range of physical and cognitive abilities, many of whom have never used a computer before, have embraced this adapted technology.

“It’s Never 2 Late engages all residents — we use it every day,” said Kim Demers, registered nurse and Merriman House Administrator. “It encourages socialization among residents. You can really tailor it to a group.”

Terese Billeaud, Merriman House activites coordinator, stressed that many applications available on iN2L are educational but also help residents to reminisce and remember pieces of their life. Residents can watch old commercials and television shows, plus participate in trivia, which covers everything from music across the generations to the cost of products when they were growing up.

“This technology provides an opportunity for residents to have conversations with each other about common interests and participate in new activities,” said Billeaud. “They love to play games and karaoke together, and use Skype to video chat with their family members.”

There’s even an option on iN2L that allows a resident to make a short, interactive video about themselves and their preferences, which they can share with the group.

The computers are on roll-around carts that can be moved throughout the nursing home and be connected to larger television screens.

iN2L provides monthly updates to the system so there is never a lack of new movies, games and activities for residents.

They also provide staff training and education, specifically on age-related diseases.

Due to the program’s popularity among staff, residents and family members, Billeaud and Demers plan to order tablets with the iN2L application for residents in the near future.

As Sharon’s game of "Piggy Bankers" wraps up, the residents agree to watch "I Love Lucy" on the big screen next. They’ll play again tomorrow.

Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health and wellness programs, imaging services, cardiopulmonary care, family birthing center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services. Practices include primary care and family medicine, diabetes care, behavioral health, women's health, podiatry, orthopedics and physical therapy. Additional Memorial facilities include The Merriman House nursing home and Mount Washington Valley Adult Day Center providing senior care services in a comfortable, home-like setting.

For more information, www.memorialhospitalnh.org or call (603) 356-5461.

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