4 Pieces of Technology Older Adults Expect in Senior Living Communities
As senior living communities continue to rebound from the pandemic, most leaders are growing their technology investments as a way to relieve staff workloads and keep pace with older adults’ technology expectations.
After all, three in four adults aged 50-plus say they rely on technology to stay connected. And that figure stays consistent across age brackets – 72 percent of adults in their 70s report needing technology to stay connected, as well.
Here are four pieces of technology for older adults – and why this tech helps improve the lives of your residents.
1. Community Engagement Platforms
When older adults join a senior living community, it’s often a needs-based decision. But that demand for greater support shouldn’t come at the expense of a thriving social life. Older adults want to connect with others and make their community feel like one.
Try enhancing those efforts by adopting a community engagement platform. Not quite sure what a community engagement platform does? Think of it as an upgraded Facebook built for your community. With it, residents can share pictures from your DIY Halloween costume contest, sign up for tai chi classes, or book dinner reservations for their weekly get-togethers.
Nearly 80 percent of senior living providers reported investing more in technology for older adults to address the pandemic in 2020. And for communities like Glen Meadows-Presbyterian Senior Living, a community engagement platform was the one surefire way residents could regularly communicate with each other and with staff.
Sure, those quarantine periods appear to be in the rearview, but social isolation takes a long-term toll. Residents know that. And the older adults who experienced it will prioritize communities that deliver lockdown-proof engagement measures.
2. Family Engagement Platforms
Before joining a senior living community, it’s not uncommon for older adults to first receive care in their own homes. In many of these instances, children and grandchildren are the caretakers. This means that when older adults move to senior living communities, there’s a good chance everything in their life changes, from the bed they sleep in to the people they see.
Losing visibility into a family member’s life is stressful. A family engagement platform relieves this concern by enabling loved ones to communicate with senior living staff about a family member and gain insight into upcoming events or other important announcements. Changing a resident’s exercise regimen? If your family engagement platform is HIPAA-compliant (ours certainly is!), you can share this with loved ones. Want to send along a video from your community’s square dancing night? You can do that, too.
Heck, you can even use a family engagement platform to organize community-wide events with residents and their families. An added bonus: these occasions are a great way to foster intergenerational relationships.
3. In-Room TV Solutions
During community lockdowns, in-room TVs enabled senior living staff to share updates with residents and provide them with engaging on-demand content. While it appears those lockdowns are behind us, the convenience of on-demand content hasn’t gone away. An in-room TV gives residents an easy way to check the weather, review community activity calendars, or just catch the game.
Not only that, but you can also integrate a virtual fitness platform, like Spiro 100, with your in-room TV solution. If you do, every resident in your community can complete dozens of fitness and flexibility courses on their own time and in their own space.
Want to up the ante? Live stream community events. This way, if a resident is feeling sick or just wants to relax in their room, they can use their TV to watch that guest speaker you invited or take part in the guided meditation you scheduled.
4. Smart Home Devices
Nobody likes getting out of bed to turn off the lights. That sort of task is especially unpleasant for older adults with limited mobility or chronic pain. And even the most attentive of staff members can’t immediately heed those “lights off” requests every time they come up.
Smart home technology empowers residents to quickly – and independently – control their environment, whether it’s by turning lights on and off, closing shutters, or regulating the temperature of their rooms.
Older adults may also use smart home tech to play music, book medical appointments, check the weather, and set alarms. Plus, with voice assistant technology, residents can complete community-related actions like check community events, and even schedule maintenance requests” with a simple “Hey, Alexa” prompt.
The smart home technology market is expected to grow from $79 billion in 2021 to a staggering $314 billion by 2027. Smart home devices are growing more common – and plenty of tomorrow’s older adults are already using them in their homes today.
Adopting Technology for Older Adults Is Easy with the Right Partner
If your community primarily relies on manual systems and printouts, adopting technology for older adults might seem daunting – or even unachievable. But it doesn’t have to feel that way.
When searching for senior living technology, consider whether the vendor is just that – a vendor – or a true partner. A partner works alongside you to help you derive the most value from their solutions. A vendor just processes those monthly invoices.
When the stakes are as high as they are today (see: the caregiver shortage, a rebounding senior living market, and high inflation) you need someone who can help ensure residents benefit from the technology you adopt.
To learn more about how you can meet the technology expectations your residents have,