Technology is an exciting way for seniors to engage in activities for both fun and cognitive function. Occupational therapists suggest the TAPit, a new adaptive and innovative touch screen technology, can provide the elderly with more opportunities for rehabilitation, communication and digital learning game play.
The TAPit –Touch Accessible Platform for Interactive Technology– is a 42″ LCD monitor that is powered by a laptop. One of the main features – intended touch – recognises the difference between purposeful touch and accidental or non-intentional touch screen activation.
For example, an elbow or hand resting on the screen will not activate the TAPit. Many seniors have difficulty with refined or controlled movements of their arms and hands, making the use of a standard touchscreen like an iPad a challenge. The TAPit’s intended touch technology gives many older adults the opportunity to access a computer with more independence.
Another benefit is the screen’s shatter-resistant safety glass, which also has a low-glare screen. It is the same type of screen used by the military, it resists marks and scratches allowing seniors to safely participate in computer activities.
The TAPit works with various software programs. It also supports the use of a mouse, adapted switches, and on-screen keyboards or voice recognition for typing. It virtually does everything our computers do but in a bigger, better way. It offers a multi-sensory experience for seniors because of its larger size and versatility. They can see it, feel it and hear it better. The larger size screen also allows for more than one person at a time to work on the TAPit, encouraging socialization, communication and turn-taking.
One of the reasons we love the TAPit is that it is accessible to all. With the press of a button the screen can be raised, lowered or tilted at various angles to meet individual needs. The versatile adjustments of the screen allow it to be positioned to encourage reaching as well as pointing, crossing midline, and even weight-bearing on one arm while using the other, thanks to its intended touch technology. Visual motor and/or perceptual motor skills are addressed in all activities as well. Seniors can kneel, stand, be positioned in a stander or walker, sit in a chair or wheelchair, or be positioned on the floor, a bolster or therapy ball.
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