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The Birches Assisted Living

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Pokémon Go Benefits Birches Resident with Memory Loss

Claire Sacchetti, a resident of The Birches Assisted Living's memory care neighborhood, recently started playing Pokémon Go.

Clarendon Hills, IL, August 19, 2016 --( For the past two months, Pokémon Go-mania has swept the nation. Whether you’re at a park, mall or grocery store, you’re bound to run across people playfully searching for Pikachu and friends. Recently, this craze even made its way to a slightly unexpected place - the hallways and courtyards of The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills, Ill.

While the average Pokémon Go user is likely in his or her teenage years rather than senior years, it seems this popular game has something to offer the over 65 crowd too. Claire Sacchetti, a resident of The Birches’ memory care neighborhood, recently started playing Pokémon Go at The Birches with her daughter-in-law, Kathy Sacchetti. So far, it’s been a great source of mental and physical stimulation for her, says The Birches’ Director of Encore and Dementia Care Services Katie Schaff Fagan.

According to Schaff Fagan, Pokémon Go is similar to a scavenger hunt, which is something anyone can enjoy regardless of age or memory capacity. In fact, she says, a scavenger hunt like Pokémon Go is actually the perfect activity for those struggling with memory loss.

“People with memory loss live in the moment and with a scavenger hunt, it’s really a moment-to-moment kind of activity,” said Schaff Fagan.

Of course, this isn’t the first time a technology-based game has had benefits for older adults. Brain-boosting computer games like Dakim Brain Fitness or Lumosity offer several cognitive benefits to older adults looking to improve their brain health. But Pokémon Go has a slight advantage over other brain-boosting video games because, not only does it stimulate the brain, it stimulates the body too. In fact, people across the country have been getting record amounts of exercise because of their insatiable drive to catch Pikachu.

But on top of these mental and physical benefits, Pokémon Go has one other extremely important benefit for older adults and their families: It helps people spend more quality time with their loved ones who have memory loss.

“Often times, families have a hard time visiting our residents with memory loss because they don’t know what to do with them or how to talk to them,” said Schaff Fagan. “Pokémon Go has been nice because Kathy and Claire can do a structured, simple activity together that they both enjoy.”

Right now Sacchetti is the only Birches resident that’s caught on to the Pokémon Go craze, but Schaff Fagan says she can see more and more residents benefitting from the game in months to come.

“I think this something that has the potential to get bigger in the future,” said Schaff Fagan. “There’s a lot of potential for families to come together regardless of age or mental abilities and just have fun playing Pokémon Go.”

The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills, Ill. offers professional services to support the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual growth of the older adults who make it their home. The Birches offers purposeful programming and activities designed to promote a healthy aging lifestyle and a strong sense of community. For more information about The Birches, call 630-789-1135 or visit:
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The Birches Assisted Living
Jenny Smiechowski

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