Tablets with brain games designed to improve mental fitness have been distributed to all 21 Ocean County Library branches and reading centers as part of an initiative to serve patrons affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Playaway Launchpad tablets, which do not require internet or Wi-Fi access, are loaded with ready-to-use word games, puzzles, number problems and speed and logic tests suitable for people from children and teenagers to adults.
reported in the press release of the library system. Library visitors can order a tablet for up to 28 days.

The program is a collaborative effort between the library’s collections and senior services

“Anyone can come in and check out the tablet,” said Christy Aldelitzi, supervisor
collections for the library system. “We just market it to older people, but I
expect them to be popular among all ages. I made sure that we ordered games suitable for all ages, only the difficulty level of the games changes.’

Tablet games boost a person’s cognitive health by improving memory, reaction time, problem-solving skills, observational skills, attention span, and more.

“Our assistant director asked me to allocate some of the budget for memory materials, and the head of senior services and I were trying to figure out how best to spend that money and best serve older people and those with memory problems and dementia. “, Aldelitzi said.

“We are always looking to enrich underserved populations and bring in new ones
materials to the fore and I knew the Findaway company where we get ours
Launch pad [tablets]always sold it to kids.

“I thought, ‘Let’s see if they offer anything for brain games,’ and they have a whole
a collection of tablets with brain games on them. So we said, “We’re going to buy a
a whole bunch of those,” she said.

According to Aldelica, the library’s senior services department has taken a dementia initiative and opened a Memory Cafe in some branches, and last year
bought memory-friendly books – wordless picture books for adults that help boost their memory and give them something to talk about.

“We’re very fortunate that our county supports us and they’re very generous with us,” she said, “so the whole project came from that.”

“The library system purchased 233 tablets (Launchpad costs $100 to $150); 195 for all departments, and the home-based department is going to get its own collection to distribute to life care centers,” Aldelizzi said.

Each Launchpad comes preloaded with 10 to 12 games. The tablet must remain charged and the library provides a USB charger.

“There’s no login,” Aldelitzi explained, “and you can’t do anything else with the tablet.
than what it was created for.

She said some of the tablet games are more advanced while others are simpler, and each tablet comes with a basic setup: a calculator, solitaire and a memory game.

“Even if someone is just practicing playing solitaire on it, it still bridges the technology gap,”
– she noted.

Aldelitzi said she became aware of the need for the devices because some areas,
including senior services and volunteer services, share space in the main office.

“We have pretty open communication,” she said. “I communicate with
branch services all the time, we are in constant contact with branches
and civil service personnel to determine their needs.

“It was seen that there is a digital divide and there are people who don’t
familiar with the technique. We are always looking for ways to help them and get them
more to speed.

“They know that memory loss and dementia are going to be a real problem in this county. So we’re marketing this collection for the elderly and those suffering from memory loss and dementia, but we’re not stopping anyone from checking out the tablet if they want to,” she said.

In addition to the elderly, there are groups of adults with disabilities who visit the library and use the Launchpad tablets.

Aldellizzi took the time to study each game and acquired an assortment, some for children as young as 10, others for teenagers and adults.

“All the content on Launchpad is suitable for all ages, the only difference is the difficulty level of the games,” she explained. “There are hidden word games, object games, color games, crosswords and things like that.”

Patrons who wish to check out the Launchpad must have a library card and will be asked to complete a loan agreement.

Laura Beth Davies, Senior Services Librarian, said: “The best thing about Launchpad is that it’s really easy to use because it doesn’t need Wi-Fi. It is very easy to use, even for non-techies. And it has the potential for intergenerational interaction. It will enrich the life of anyone it touches.”

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