The Obie device is a projector that emits games onto a surface, such as a table top, which creates an interactive virtual playground for older adults. Studies of the impact of client-centered leisure and recreational activities for older adults especially residents in long term care (LTC) have shown that they can help to improve mental health and self-esteem, and their physical and psychosocial functions. Integrating the Obie as part of the recreationists’ toolkit means an additional way to use an innovative device and game play to stimulate cognitive and social engagement and connectedness, and physical activity, among peers as well as with staff and caregivers. Since the interaction with the games are gesture-based, it is also safe and IPAC-friendly. Further stimulation can be integrated by adding props to enhance the experience, such as adding leaves or using a hand-held rake to add a sensory element to the game of virtually raking up fallen autumn leaves.
Starting with a pilot of the device, the response to the Obie games has been very positive amongst the residents and staff, such that at the conclusion of the pilot, additional Obie units were purchased to adopt, expand and integrate virtual game play to other areas of the home.