UAFS, Arkansas Senior Residence Use 3D Technology to Aid Recreational Therapy

UAFS, Arkansas Senior Residence Use 3D Technology to Aid Recreational Therapy
To foster the cognitive stimulation of its Alzheimer’s disease (AD) residents, an Arkansas senior living center collaborated with the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith (UAFS) to produce recreational 3D-printed items. A set of large-scale, lightweight, and colorful plastic nuts and bolts were made especially for those Methodist Village Senior Living memory-care residents who used to primarily use their hands for a living, perhaps as manual laborers or factory workers. "When planning for our Alzheimer’s Special Care Community, we knew it was important to have the right stimulation,” Melissa Curry, Methodist Village's CEO, said in a press release. To that end, Curry ordered life-like robotic dogs and cats for allergen-free pet therapy, and put interactive art in hallways. To further support residents with Alzheimer’s and other dementia, the facility also established experiential centers for activities such as painting, fishing, and cooking. The hope was that by providing a range of replicated sensory activities, all residents would have something to which they could relate. But that wasn’t quite the case. "There are many patients who hadn’t spent their young lives at a garden or with pets, but on the job, operating heavy equipment and putting their hands to work,” Curry said. That’s where the partnership with the university came in. Curry asked Ken Warden, dean of the UAFS College of Applied Science and Techn
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