Bethesda has worked over the years to have a continuum care model. It all started in 1969 when Bethesda Home of Aberdeen opened its doors. In 1981, Bethesda started its Sharing Center to help alleviate childcare cost for its employees. Over the years this program has open its doors to the public. Parkside independent living started offering services to those looking for independent senior living in 1985. As Bethesda continued to look for ways to meet the needs of the community, Bethesda Towne Square assisted living opened in 1997. As more seniors want to age in place, Help at Home started in 2008. In 2014, Adult Day services were added allowing families options during the day for loved ones. In 2021, it became our vision to create an Intergenerational Center; a way for seniors and younger generations to interact with one another, and an after-school program was developed.
As we all navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and with the addition of the Intergenerational Center, it became more evident that we needed to add activities that would allow for the generations to come together. Bobbie Buechler, Director of Activities, came across a new system called Obie. Obie was founded in 2005, but it was not until 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic that Obie for Seniors came about. Obie for Seniors is an interactive gaming system that uses a projector combined with motion sensors to transform walls, floors, or tables into an interactive video game area; all to encourage active play, interactivity, and cognitive stimulation. This system also allows for games for children while some of the games allow for both age groups to enjoy. At this time due to the pandemic, each age group participates separately, but we are looking forward to the day both can enjoy it together.
The premise behind Obie is to have meaningful play. It allows participants to engage in high quality activity and play-based experiences to enhance their physical capabilities and improve their willingness to communicate. Obie’s creators adjusted the system to accommodate seniors to include multiple levels of games based on cognition. As we move to the next generation of seniors, technology will need to be part of everyday life.
We are excited to be the first facility in South Dakota to offer this new technology to our Bethesda family.