There is a great article about the use of the game Wii to help residents with socialization and physical therapyin nursing homes. Wii-hab is the name of the game sweeping nursing homes across the region.
Morrell Nursing & Rehab Center in Hartsville and Bethea Baptist in Darlington are among the long-term care facilities taking part in the craze, much to the delight of their residents. The new Wii-hab program uses the Nintendo Wii to promote exercise at the facility.
The favorite game is Wii bowling, because it allows the residents to exercise upper body despite physical limitations. Residents and staff alike gather in the center’s sunny activities room to both play and watch others play such Wii games as bowling, tennis, baseball and boxing.
Mary Etheredge, activities director at Morrell, is the person responsible for bringing the program to all three of Wilson Senior Care’s facilities in the Pee Dee. She said so far, the program has been a great success. Etheredge said the biggest challenge so far has been getting the male residents to participate. The exercise from the Wii-hab is deceptively easy for many of the residents, Etheredge said, almost tricking them into doing rehab to make their daily lives easier.
“When they’re doing this, they really don’t realize how much they are moving,” she said. “It has them concentrating. They have to watch their eye and hand movement. It really works.”
While the tournament was going on, residents and employees gathered around Hopkins and Woodham to cheer them on with yells and clapping.
Etheredge said that sort of involvement has become almost commonplace since the Wii-hab program began at the facility. She said the Wii-hab program has made a difference in the quality of life for residents and it’s a change she plans on keeping around for a long time.
Hopefully this will become standard practice at other nursing homes.