Wednesday evening, the Salem Ladies Auxiliary held a barbecue fundraiser for the Salem DementiAbility Program as they plan to purchase an "ABBY."
495 meals were sold, and donations totalled at $13,709.95.
The "ABBY" device, which can connect to the internet, looks similar to an old-fashioned radio, complete with dials, lights, and switches.
"There's a screen, and they can turn a wheel to look like they're driving a car. They can draw on the screen with their finger and then colour it in; they can play games on it. It will be a very very cool tool to use," says President Hilda Friesen.
She says 93 percent of the residents at Salem have a form of dementia, and 78 percent of those have responsive behaviours like anxiety. Helping them engage with their surroundings can be useful to trigger memories, and the "ABBY" does just that.
Friesen says, "as soon as you start turning that wheel your screen says that you're going someplace like to the beach, or going shopping. Then you hear the motor start, and you're looking at the screen, and it looks like you're looking out the windshield of a car."
The "ABBY" is also a great tool for friends and family members to use when visiting residents, giving them a way to interact and talk with each other.
"What research shows in that when they are using this device, it really helps to calm them down . . . so that's what we're hoping will happen," she adds.
Friesen says they are extremely grateful for the strong support of the community.