Care homes are getting cool

This gem of an article from communitycare.co.uk caught my eye today:

Care home residents console themselves with Wii

Aside from the very cute headline which could grant the sub-editor a 52-week season on a red-top back page, the piece itself made me think just how much the young and aging have in common. While those of us aged around 16-61 (for the purpose of symmetry) have to worry about studies, jobs, making ends meet, you know, all the stuff at the bottom of the Maslow pyramid, young and old people in our society are generally free of responsibilities.

At first glance it seemed a tad odd to me that residents in a care home could get pleasure from Wii’s stimulating Rafael Nadal’s serve or Tiger Woods’ swing – but on reflection, why not? The Wii is proactive, you get back what you put in – rather than wait for the home’s fortnightly visit from Uncle Henry’s Magic World, care homes are showing that the gizmos of modern life are not exclusively for kids.

It cannot be easy to adapt to life in a care home, the very nature of a total institution (remember Goffman?) relegates individual choice enjoyed at home to the book of remembrance. And hard as the good care homes try – and many do – they cannot replicate the choices that come with living at home. The Wii initiative (sorry for the pun but the homes that are using the consoles ARE in Scotland!) is to be applauded. And Nintendo have an array of options for game development. They could start with David Lean’s cult Brief Encounter; can you make Celia Johnson catch the train? Help Trevor Howard get that spec of dust from Celia’s eye.

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