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BlogCommunication Technology17 Best Practices for Implementing and Using Your Senior Living Technology: An Icon Roundup

17 Best Practices for Implementing and Using Your Senior Living Technology: An Icon Roundup

The right technology platform can make life easier for everyone involved with a senior living community: residents, staff, and family. Key to realizing the biggest benefits, of course, is implementing and using that technology effectively.

In this piece, we highlight best practices for each user group: residents, staff, and family, to help senior living leaders ensure their technology investments are translating to the greatest possible benefit throughout their community.

Encourage Resident Technology Adoption and Use: 5 Best Practices

When residents use community engagement software and embrace the power of digital calendars, they become more engaged and happier. They build more meaningful relationships with their neighbors. This has all kinds of downstream benefits for a community, including better resident health and more referrals.

To encourage adoption and use, follow these steps:

  1. Survey residents about their biggest pain points. People are more likely to adopt new technology if it solves a real problem. Whether you already have tech in place or are shopping for a solution, look for functionalities that address common pain points (e.g., smart home features that enable voice control of lights). Highlight these, and residents will be eager to start using the tech.
  2. Provide onboarding when you introduce new tech. The software provider should offer onboarding sessions as part of your contract. Ask for sessions tailored to different user groups (residents and staff).
  3. Provide ongoing training sessions. The best senior living tech providers release regular updates, enhancements, and new features. Offer ongoing training sessions to ensure residents know how to get the most out of the latest version of your community’s tech.
  4. Encourage a resident-run tech support group. Sun City, AZ-based Royal Oaks boasts Tech-Connect, a resident-run group to support residents’ use of all kinds of technology. Peer-led support and enthusiasm for the technology can both encourage widespread use and eliminate common frustrations with when users hit a wall.
  5. Allow prospective residents to test drive the technology. The right tech is a differentiator for senior living communities, and prospective residents are starting to realize that. Show off what you have on offer by letting prospective residents “test drive” your platform as they consider moving in. When they can observe bustling resident-led groups and a dynamic events calendar, they’ll recognize the value a strong technology platform adds.

Promote Tech Adoption and Use for Staff: 7 Proven Strategies

Empowering senior living staff with the right technology can make their work more efficient and free up more of their time to interact with residents – which is why many of them got into this work to begin with!

But again, efficiency gains (and the downstream improvements in engagement, job satisfaction, and retention) only happen if staff are using tech to its full potential. These strategies can help make that a reality:

  1. Survey staff about their biggest pain points. From answering emails to taking attendance at events, there’s likely a tech solution that can streamline or simplify your staff’s least favorite tasks. For example: set up automated reminders to reorder activities supplies. Start by identifying problems so you know which solution will add the most value.
  2. Consider your existing infrastructure. Before committing to a new solution, make sure your community’s infrastructure can support it. That usually means robust Wi-Fi, interoperability with existing software, and a certain level of staff tech-savviness.
  3. Run a pilot program. Before doing a full rollout, pilot new tech with a few users. Get their feedback and use it to guide your investment: maybe they love the calendar solution but wish the platform had a way to communicate better with families. Let staff feedback guide conversations with vendors as you find the right solution.
  4. Identify champions. Once you’ve chosen the tech platform you’ll use, identify the people on staff who are most enthusiastic about it. Focus on getting them onboarded first, and use their enthusiasm to drum up excitement among the rest of the team.
  5. Provide structured onboarding and ongoing training. Onboarding helps remove the biggest barrier to use by ushering staff onto the platform. Ongoing training helps ensure that people are using new and updated features to maximum effect. Tip: if you’re shopping for tech right now, ask about vendors’ onboarding and training offerings.
  6. Make it easy to share feedback. User feedback is invaluable to the companies building and evolving technology. It’s also useful to community leaders, who can guide how and when staff are expected to use various features. Being able to express frustrations and suggestions easily also keeps users engaged because it signals to them that they have agency.
  7. Gamify adoption. Inevitably, it will be hard to get some people on board or to get staff to use certain functions of your new software. To help them over the hump, try gamifying adoption: create raffles based on logins at the start or let staff rack up points for various types of use. For best results, offer prizes that staff actually want.

How to Get Families Using Senior Living Tech: 5 Strategies

Getting families to use senior living tech regularly can mean fewer calls and emails your staff has to answer, plus better visibility into their loved ones’ lives. Both can translate to happier families overall, which increases the likelihood of referrals and positive word-of-mouth.

Here are strategies that tend to work well:

  1. Highlight tech capabilities in sales and marketing. While residents increasingly expect tech solutions in senior living communities, not all tech is created equal. Communicate the value your solution offers by highlighting its benefits in sales materials and conversations with prospects. 
  2. Offer trial access. Just as you might provide prospective residents with logins to test your software, consider letting family members test drive it as well.
  3. Offer training sessions. You’ll need to do staff- and resident-specific training, so why not offer sessions for families too? As with other user groups, training sessions can help ensure resident families are getting the most from your community’s tech – and appreciating the value it delivers.
  4. Send photos of loved ones. One of the most popular features of Icon’s Family Engagement App is the photo sharing function. This lets families literally see what their loved ones are up to, which can boost peace of mind. It can also reduce the number of check-in calls and emails staff might otherwise have to field on a regular basis.
  5. Use communications functions. Simply keeping loved ones informed goes a long way toward keeping them happy. Be sure your community’s senior living tech enables emergency and crisis communications as well as regular updates.

Maximize the ROI of Senior Living Tech by Empowering People to Use It

As in any other space, the power of senior living tech depends on two things: the technology itself and how it’s used. That’s why it’s crucial for senior living leaders to have a plan in place for ensuring that every user has the resources and support they need to use the technology effectively – especially as that technology evolves.

At Icon, we understand the importance of the post-purchase journey. We love providing onboarding and ongoing IT support to the communities we serve to help ensure that our solutions are having as much impact as possible in our customers’ lives.Interested in seeing our tech in action? Schedule a demo.

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