Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Nursing Home Residents Now Travel the Superhighway

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Nursing Home Residents Now Travel the Superhighway

Article excerpt

ENID (AP) -- Several afternoons a week, Perfecto Atayde maneuvers his electric wheelchair to the activity room at University Nursing Center.

For an hour or so, he and other residents check and send e- mails, send electronic greeting cards and surf the Internet using the nursing center's Web TV. The World Wide Web is at their fingertips.

"If some of my friends have a device like this, I can talk and communicate and write," Perfecto said. "This was very useful."

Perfecto, who is physically immobilized and has some speech disabilities, can use the keyboard to access the newly acquired technology.

He's just one of the many residents implementing Web TV, a device that connects users to the Internet through the television. The nursing center acquired the system a couple of months ago.

Chris Norton, the center's director of nursing, bought the system out of his own pocket. He even purchased a Web camera for the center so he can keep a video diary of the residents while they are using the system and for Internet conferencing.

Norton said the idea to buy the system just came to him one day. "I don't know why I did it. I just came up with the idea. I thought it would reach out to them. They're adults just like we are. I was surprised at how well they've adapted to it."

A few residents gather around the big-screen television at 3:30 every afternoon. It's not always the same crowd, and everyone who joins the group is just there to have fun, said Tracy Groene, the center's activity director.

"Even the most recluse residents who won't come out for anything else like it," Groene said. "It's been real good for them. They look forward to looking at e-mails."

Norton agrees. "Everyone likes to get e-mail," he said. "Some of them can't wait to answer it."

The residents enjoy it so much that Norton and Groene e-mail them from their home computers. …

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