UCF students use Nintendo Wii to help people with memory loss

Bowling with a Nintendo Wii is just one of the many games that UCF students play with members of the Brain Fitness Club, which serves 12 people who all have some form of memory impairment. The Brain Fitness Club provides a variety of simulation through board games, the Nintendo Wii, playing pool and ping – pong, and even line dancing classes. These activites promote cognitive stimulations, light physical exercise and socalization. UCF students come in and give one – on – one therapy sessions. They also provide a notebook full of mental stimulations exercises for every day of the week.

Taryn Lamonettin, 23, is a communicative science and disorders undergraduate student at UCF and chose to intern at the Brain Fitness Club as part of her community internship class. She helps with activites such as the word games and plays Nintendo with the older adults. She feels like she has a better understanding from this hands on experience of how people with memory impairment live their lives and their brains daily.

Nancy Gerrity, whose husband, Tom, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in his early 50s, founded the program in August 2007. She works full time at an engineering company, and Tom used to be at home by himself most of the day. He was still able to participate in activities, but there wasn’t much that would offer him good mental stimulations, so Gerrity set out to create a place that would. She said that the program has benefited his attitude and happiness and that his mind is definitely sharper. The program is funded by private donations and grants, and the charge to participate is $35 a day. The Brain Fitness Club is looking for more funding to sustain help the program grow in hopes of eventually being able to offer it to more members and possibly have more sites available, Gerrity said.

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