Technology helps care home residents travel around the world while exercising
A massive digital library is allowing a few lucky rehabilitating Calgarians to roam the world while pedalling in place.
Motitech is a digital library filled with 2,200 videos from 40 different countries. Dan McEwen is its director of marketing development based in Ottawa while the company's head office is in Norway.
He says any kind of stationary pedalling can be put in front of a screen where images are projected to make it look like the rider is part of the scene.
"We film it with seniors in mind, we're not trying to run a spin class and race through the scenery," said McEwen. "We want to have a nice leisurely ride so that they have time to notice the dog in the park and say yes, that's the dog I had growing up and reminisce while they peddle the trip."
LOOKING FOR NEW DESTINATIONS
McEwen says Motitech is always looking for new destinations to add to its collection so their clients' memories are triggered of places where they'd like to revisit virtually.
The Chinook Care Centre brought the system into its rehabilitation facility in July 2021. About 50 residents are using Motitech along with exercise equipment for various reasons. Many are in stroke rehab, have MS or suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Physiotherapist Cristina Gomez said the system even benefits residents living with dementia.
"I saw a resident crying," she said. "Traveling to one place and the tears were coming, he was unable to express why he was crying but that happened and broke our hearts."
Occupational therapist Laura Power sees how residents look forward to seeing and sharing stories with others while riding and watching the videos.
"It's nice to see residents from other units come down and then just blossom, come out of their shells have conversations, get to know other people," said Power. "It's kind of become a social center here in the facility where people can come in and see residents that they may not see on a daily basis and have a chance to connect, whether they're talking about something they're seeing on the screen or just day to day things going on in their lives, I think it's created a community here within the center."
Victor Solano is recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Stationary peddling can be boring but he's regaining movement while pedalling and watching the scenery.
"You could be in Banff or you could be in Tel Aviv or you could be in Dubai and you do get to do that 15 minutes at a time and it's tremendous," he said.
Rob Owens' goal is to stand up and walk one day after suffering a stroke. He enjoys the company while pedalling and seeing destinations he's travelled to in the past.
"I like the exotic spots," said Owens. "This was good earlier in Israel, I mean when do you get to walk down to the street markets in Israel? Not very often, so it's good."
Motitech hosted its annual month-long competition in September called Road Worlds for Seniors that saw 5,000 older people and people living with dementia make up 260 global teams. Each team's distance was recorded daily and they all pedalled a total of 156,000 kilometres.
Brenda Hazel, Rob Owens and Victor Solano were three members of a team of six from the Chinook Care Centre. The team finished 16th overall with a total of 2,578.3 kilometres.
"My goal was to beat myself every day," said Hazel. "So I was quite motivated by the staff and by the other residents and it's all good, I loved every minute."
Now the team wants to build up their strength to better their total in the 2022 competition.
Learn more about Motitech here: www.Motitech.ca