Members of the ALA Department of Texas; Dr. Karen Benson and her staff

Dr. Karen Benson saw something unusual as she walked through the halls of Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Community Living Center in Houston. The group of six or seven veterans that sits passively in this hallway every morning was engaged in a spirited game of Family Feud with the Community Living Center staff.

“Animation spread across their faces as they worked together and exemplified the competitive spirit in this friendly face-off,” Dr. Benson said.

This interaction was made possible by the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Texas and funding from a Veteran Projects Fund grant from the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation. The grant allowed this veterans living center to purchase the “It’s Never 2 Late Mobile Flex System,” which helps people of any ability learn to use technology. In addition, the equipment helps to improve the quality of life for patients. It provides stress relief, improves social engagements, and reduces anxiety, all while providing a chance for all veterans to reconnect with their faith, history, and loved ones in ways they never could before. The system is particularly important for veterans with neurocognitive disorders such as dementia, as it can enhance their cognitive function.

The Community Living Center staff explained that this technology has already begun to encourage patients to get out of bed and interact with the community. And for those who are unable, it has provided a new way to virtually connect with people.

“I am very excited about the possibilities of this project to improve quality of life for some of the most vulnerable residents in the Community Living Center,” Dr. Benson said, “and I am grateful to the ALAF for their support of this endeavor.”

For more information on how to apply for a Veteran Projects Fund grant through the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation, visit www.ALAFoundation.org/grants.