It’s Never 2 Late: Technology enhances life for all ages, abilities

It’s never too late to enjoy your life: You’re never too old to sing a Broadway tune or laugh with a giggling toddler, to connect with a loved one’s photo or play a game. On The Lutheran Home Campus
in Belle Plaine, Minn., these little reminders of joy are on display in a big way — a 70-inch TV with state-of-the-art touchscreen.

The system — It’s Never 2 Late® (iN2L) — delivers a person-centered experience designed to engage users with interactive games, puzzles, health and wellness tools, spiritual experiences, music, films and lifelong learning opportunities.

iN2L2.jpg“It’s Never 2 Late is a software that allows you to have at your fingertips on a touch screen with about 4,000 different activities you can engage older adults in. Caregivers can actually learn more about what’s really important to residents. It helps build a better bond and relationship and provide better care for them,” said Sharon Blume, Director of Health Technology Services for The Lutheran Home Association (TLHA).

Three iN2L monitors serve those living with disabilities at Hope Residence and older adults at The Lutheran Home: Belle Plaine and Kingsway Retirement Living. A grant funded the initial purchase of
the iN2L systems, which are on mobile kiosks. At Hope Residence, iN2L is part of an extensive array of services to support and enhance the lives of people living with disabilities such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, ataxia and epilepsy. iN2L’s group games encourage residents to interact, and the software’s soothing music can help calm residents, especially those for whom progressing dementia causes increased agitation.

There are other benefits for those with dementia: “One resident was in the musical production ‘Oklahoma’ in college. When it plays on iN2L, she just comes to life,” Blume said. Other residents laugh along with video clips of giggling babies or use the large screen to search Google Earth’s satellite images for their childhood homes. A grandpa scrolls through photos of his grandson uploaded on the screen. A family in hospice plays games together. Others are motivated to complete therapy by following along on screen.

iN2L.jpg“It’s Never 2 Late has brought a whole new dimension to residents who live in our facility,” said Heidi Barber, The Lutheran Home: Belle Plaine Director of Nursing. “What these engagement activities bring out in the residents is an ability to connect, an ability to participate, to feel useful, to feel like they’re doing something that’s meaningful.”

Along with other interventions, using iN2L has helped reduce the use of antipsychotics by 70 percent in long-term care stay residents at Belle Plaine.

“We’ve noticed an increase in residents’ cognition, being more aware of their surroundings, and an increase in their communication,” Heidi said.

TLHA’s innovative use of technology in care, including iN2L, earned it the 2015 Age and Disabilities Odyssey Innovation Award from the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Board on Aging.

“TLHA’s success with our systems has been remarkable; they have taken our engagement technology to a whole different level,” said iN2L Chief Executive Officer Jack York. “The culture of their organization is built around allowing people to flourish regardless of ageor disability. They make it happen on a daily basis.”

View the Care Well grant video about iN2L