"Wiihabilitation" in Local Nursing Home

Kim Johnson, Social Director, Bivins Memorial
Kim Johnson, Social Director, Bivins Memorial
Julie Massengill, Physical Therapy Assistant
Julie Massengill, Physical Therapy Assistant

Forget Bingo and Dominoes. Nursing homes in our area are investing in Nintendo's Wii systems for its residents.

Whether they are recovering from a stroke or surgery or just playing for fun, nursing home patients are reaping the benefits of a game targeted at their grandkids.

The days of walks during rehab are behind us...sort of. The rehab center at Bivins Memorial is adding Wii to its list of physical therapy activities.

Kim Johnson, Social Director, says "it increases balance, coordination rather than sitting still holding a control in their hand."

But it is not only for rehab patients, long-term residents will get to play as well. Johnson says "they're an intergenerational thing, they bond with their grandkids...its fun for them to see grandma playing Wii."

The residents were first shown the Wii about a month ago, much to their surprise. Julie Massengill, a physical therapy assistant, says "they were apprehensive at first, but then they all loved it."

Massengill says Wii can improve socialization and also impacts their outlook on rehab.

Medical professionals say playing wii can improve motor skills in both occupational and physical therapy because the motions mimic those used in rehab.

Medical professionals also tell us patients have so much fun playing Wii that they forget they are even in rehab. And if they are having fun, they are more likely to do it.