We’re nearly a full quarter into 2023. And while the year is still young, we’ve had a few months to follow the technology investments that senior living providers are making – or will likely make.
Here are the three senior living technologies we’re seeing rise to the top – as well as one that we feel you can safely pump the brakes on…for now.
1. Resident Engagement Platforms
Just 35 percent of senior living leaders report using an engagement solution to connect residents with one another or their loved ones. But 61 percent indicated they plan to adopt a platform “immediately or soon.”
The reasoning behind implementing a resident engagement platform is often two-fold:
- Maintain ground with competitors. Today’s older adults – and their loved ones – are increasingly weighing a community’s digital tools in their moving decisions. If you’re neck-and-neck with a competitor, a community engagement platform that encourages activity participation and promotes social wellness could be the difference between welcoming a new resident and striking out.
- Prepare for the oncoming “silver tsunami.” By 2040, one in five adults in America will be 65 and over. And this group of older adults breaks the mold for what people typically expect from an older generation. They prioritize holistic wellness. They regularly use technology. And they expect to see both prominently featured from their long-term care providers. A community engagement platform satisfies both of these expectations while prolonging one thing nearly every older adult wants: their autonomy.
Like the other pieces of technology on this list, not every engagement platform fits each community perfectly. There are plenty of considerations to make.
You may, for instance, prioritize residents’ ability to provide feedback on life enrichment programming. You may not care whether the platform comes with a suite of downloadable content because you’ve created your own. Or, you may want a platform that integrates with staff-facing technologies (which leads us to the next investment).
2. Staff Communication Tools
As highlighted in our 2023 senior living trends blog, the staffing shortage isn’t going away anytime soon. And while there are plenty of tactics you can use to build your staffing pipeline, you’re still likely facing the reality that you need to do more with less.
One way to optimize your staff members’ time and maximize their efforts? Support them with technology that automates administrative duties and simplify tasks like shift scheduling. With the right communication tools, you can do that and more.
This type of investment also mirrors a technology trend we’re seeing in senior living: expanding beyond engagement and into operations.
Traditionally, senior living technology has been viewed as a value-add for residents – something to boost your headcount. But that same logic applies to the talent you attract. Technology can be a powerful motivator, whether it persuades staff to stay in a current role or leave for a similar one.
Staff communication tools that simplify workflows and allow caregivers to focus more on interacting with residents aren’t just valuable because they save time. They also promote greater employee satisfaction. And when your staff is happy, there’s a higher likelihood your residents are happy, too.
3. Smart Home Devices
Smart home devices have, for years, been the talk of the town for senior living providers. So what makes 2023 different?
1. Older adults are more comfortable with smartphones now. When you adopt technology, whether it’s community engagement platforms or in-room TVs, you’re often changing residents’ status quo.
These technology implementations are easier when residents have some working familiarity either with that device or with similar pieces of technology. And over the past few years, older adults have grown far more comfortable using smartphones – a key part of most smart home systems.
2. The devices have become more dynamic and user friendly. The smart home landscape isn’t just filled with lightbulbs that you can turn on and off with the tap of your smartphone.
Today, residents can use smart home devices like Amazon Alexa to turn down the air conditioner, place maintenance requests, and check a community’s activity calendar.
Senior Living Technology to Avoid (For Now): Care Robots and Delivery Drones
Whether it’s ChatGPT or VR headsets and metaverses, there’s no shortage of news around what the most cutting-edge technology developments could mean for senior living. And while some technologies, like VR gaming, are certainly entertaining, they’re niche and frequently cost-prohibitive for most senior living providers.
That’s also the case with robots. From medicine dispensing robots to grocery delivery robots to robot dogs, the senior living space has seen its fair share of AI headlines in recent months. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We should always be thinking about what makes for an iconic aging experience.
But if you’re asking us, we’d say this technology is at least a few years away from being scalable or readily available. That being said, a VR golf tournament could be a fun way to spend a rainy day when your residents can’t hit the greens themselves.
The Best Technology Investments Cater to Enterprise Teams
Whatever piece of senior living technology you decide to adopt, a worthwhile consideration is how visible it is to enterprise teams. This year, we’re seeing corporate teams play a larger role in the communities they oversee.
That means if you’re a Life Enrichment Director and you have an engagement platform on your radar, it’ll benefit you to confirm whether that platform has ample reporting and that your enterprise teams can access it easily.Interested in learning more about how Icon’s senior living technology solutions can help you achieve your engagement and recruitment goals in 2023? Shoot us a message!