Birdsong Tablet for Seniors with Dementia

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Built on awarding-winning research about the impact of personalized computers upon the daily life of seniors and adults with dementia, Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach, Virginia is teaming with the French-based company TMM Groupe to launch the Birdsong Tablet.

The Birdsong research study in 2015 at Westminster-Canterbury showed that simplified in-room digital technology and curated content improves life and brain health for older adults. The study was conducted among residents of Westminster-Canterbury’s Hoy Nursing Care Center with Eastern Virginia Medical School and Virginia Wesleyan University. The project received the 2016 Excellence in Research and Education Award from LeadingAge, a Washington, D.C.-based association representing 6,000 non-profit aging services organizations. From those findings the non-profit life plan community established a partnership with TMM Groupe for the development of the Birdsong Tablet.

“However, the technology on the market was simply too expensive for families and communities across the country to deploy widely,” said J. Benjamin Unkle, Jr. Westminster-Canterbury CEO. “It was frustrating.  Our study showed when tablets are in private apartments or rooms 24/7, they get used and amazing things happen for seniors. We decided the market needed more choice and competition.  After an international search for a strong provider-partner, we chose TMM Groupe in France to develop a more affordable solution. TMM’s android platform leverages content already widely available on the android app store, in addition to our own carefully curated content.”

The Birdsong Tablet is pre-loaded with hundreds of hours of music, videos, games, travel and therapeutic content. The device also provides a user-friendly family app that makes it easy for residents and their loved ones to connect with video chat and messaging. Because research shows that smaller screens are difficult for some seniors to see, the tablet is available in 21, 18 or 10-inch screen sizes.

Established in 2009, TMM Groupe develops e-health software solutions for the healthcare industry, including healthcare professionals and patients. The company unites its team with complementary skills, including development engineers, project managers and other expert personnel. The applications owe their success to their design jointly constructed with healthcare professionals, starting with user requirements and delivered as turnkey solutions through industrial partnerships. The tablets are available through senior living communities, and a cloud-based home version will be available in coming months. Email: to be placed on the waitlist.

“Westminster-Canterbury is a great partner to collaborate with to bring our technology solutions to the United States,” said Arnault Thouret, CEO of TMM Groupe. “Together with Westminster-Canterbury’s expertise in senior living and dementia care and our experience with in-room technology, we have been able to create the most accessible and affordable product to enhance the lives of seniors.”

The Birdsong Initiative study and now the new software and tablet are named in honor of former Westminster-Canterbury Foundation board member Sue Birdsong and her husband George, who funded the research. Westminster-Canterbury resident Helen Henrich’s husband George is using the new tablet: “The Birdsong Tablet opens a whole new world for him,” Henrich said. “He’s able to keep up-to-date on news and current events as well as research everything from travel to recipes. The preloaded software is fun, but it is also like physical exercise for his brain. He especially likes being able to watch his favorite old television shows and I’m really excited that he’s one of the first people selected to try it in the United States.”

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