Westminster-Canterbury launches IN2L research project

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Westminster-Canterbury on the Chesapeake Bay is launching a research project that will look at the impact of It's Never 2 Late technology with dementia residents.

The project was funded through a $228,000 donation by Westminster-Canterbury Foundation board member Sue Birdsong and husband George. It will be called the Birdsong Initiative and will run for 24 weeks.

Thirty-one residents whose dementia makes it difficult to participate in social activities will use computers customized to their personal interests. The technology, which includes social networking and Skype, and was developed by IN2L. Another 31 residents will take part in non-computerized therapeutic recreation programs.

Twelve weeks into the initiative, the two groups will switch roles, so that by the time the study concludes, all of the residents will have used the IN2L computers.

Eastern Virginia Medical School students and Virginia Wesleyan College therapeutic recreation interns will carry out the daily tasks of the study.

The Birdsongs made the donation after seeing a demonstration of IN2L. “I knew it could help people at every level of care,” said Sue Birdsong, whose late mother resided at Westminster-Canterbury. “My hope is that the study will show decreases in depression, loneliness, and the use of psychotropic medicine.”