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BlogCCRCEnhancing Personalized Wellness Programming with Technology and AI: A Webinar Recap

Enhancing Personalized Wellness Programming with Technology and AI: A Webinar Recap

Many senior living communities already use wellness programming to encourage healthy aging. The hard part: creating an experience that feels tailored to each resident’s health needs.

Personalized wellness is much easier, though, with the help of technology and AI. We explored how in our latest sponsored webinar with Senior Housing News. On the panel: Ryan Galea, Icon CEO; Greg Garrett, COO at Peconic Landing; and Stephanie Boreale, National Director of Health and Strategy at Watermark Retirement Communities. Here’s a recap of their conversation.

What Does Personalized Wellness Mean in Senior Living?

Each senior living community defines personalized wellness a bit differently. But at Watermark and Peconic Landing, there’s quite a bit of crossover.

Watermark designed its “360 Well” program to focus on four key circles: mind, body, spirit, and connections. As Stephanie noted, the overall aims “go well beyond each person’s physical and mental health; they’re fueled by change and growth.”

To foster that growth, Watermark empowers both residents and associates to control their own wellness journey. They enjoy the personalized support of a 360 Well coordinator, along with the primary care, therapy, and pharmacy teams. This approach has a clear impact: residents feel 10 percent more connection and purpose within their first six months.

Peconic Landing’s “Successful Living” program has a similar philosophy. It’s rooted in the Blue Zones principles, with four pillars: natural movement, healthy eating, social connections, and a positive attitude. As Greg puts it, the core aim is to help its members (i.e., residents) “learn, grow, pursue interests, and continue to have purpose at any age.” 

Personalization is key here. The Peconic Landing team works with each member to develop custom wellness plans. And members are encouraged to continuously think about what “successful living” means to them.

How Peconic Landing and Watermark Use Technology to Make Personalized Wellness Possible

Late last year, Peconic Landing partnered with Icon to turbocharge its community experience with technology. One key tool – Icon’s resident engagement portal – has tremendously improved members’ wellness journeys. It puts everything from activity signups to dining menus in one easy-to-use app.

Since rolling out this portal in April 2024, Peconic Landing has enjoyed a 68 percent adoption rate. One of the most helpful features for members so far: nutritional information for every menu item. This gives them more power over how they nourish their bodies. Members can access this information from the Icon mobile app – or even ask Alexa thanks to a powerful smart home device integration.

To further support wellness, Peconic Landing encourages members to use an iBalance machine to predict where they’re most likely to be injured in a fall. This knowledge can help members choose which muscles to strengthen and protect their physical health.

As for Watermark, its digital journey is still in the early stages. But leadership has already decided on a few tech-forward solutions to enhance its 360 Well program, such as…


    • Smart fitness equipment: Residents can calibrate equipment based on data from wearables. That information is also shared with personal trainers to help customize each fitness plan.

    • Remote patient monitoring technology: Watermark is collaborating with a national primary care group to deploy remote patient monitoring and chronic care management technology. The goal: a fuller picture of resident’s wellness needs and, ultimately, more proactive interventions.

    • Calendaring systems: Watermark is building out a tool that can develop an activity calendar based on residents’ historical preferences. This can boost engagement and save staff time on manual tasks. (Icon’s Smart Aging™ Dashboard works similarly – more on that in the next section.)

Many of these solutions are already on a fast track to implementation – and the list is only bound to grow.

AI Can Streamline Personalization – But Data Is Key

AI can be a valuable tool to personalize wellness programs. One emerging solution to watch is Icon’s Smart Aging™ technology. It uses AI to recommend wellness activities based on engagement data, almost like how Netflix suggests new shows based on users’ watch history.

In the future, staff will be able to use this technology to fine-tune their wellness programming. For instance, a chatbot might suggest tweaking a yoga class to accommodate mixed mobility needs.

Of course, AI is only as good as the data available. The good news: Peconic Landing and Watermark are well ahead of the curve.

Watermark has invested in integrating fragmented data, from EHR information to residents’ self-reported Wellness Index scores. With AI, Stephanie hopes teams can use this data to automate time-consuming tasks (like calendar planning) and personalize interactions with residents by learning what they care about most.

Peconic Landing also has a wealth of wellness data. And it plans to expand the scope of information it collects – say, by asking members to self-score their progress on each of the four wellness pillars. AI can analyze this data to predict outcomes and even offer personalized interventions. Ultimately, Greg is optimistic that AI can guide members toward living a healthier and happier life.

To Maximize Adoption, Engage Staff and Residents Early

For new technology to stick, communities need significant buy-in from residents and staff.

Peconic Landing’s approach: communicate and involve people from the start. When Greg’s team decided to partner with Icon, it brought members and staff to initial meetings so they could see the technology’s advantages firsthand. 

Leadership also held open forums for members to ask questions and share any concerns. Over time, this transparency turned skepticism into excitement. Member ambassadors played a crucial role here: they drummed up excitement, encouraged signups, and held peer-to-peer trainings.

At Watermark, Stephanie emphasized the value of “putting residents and associates in the driver’s seat” of 360 Well. On the resident side, that meant offering a range of tools for wellness communication: videos, experiential learning, tip sheets, etc. And on the associate side, it was important to balance offering support with preserving residents’ wellness autonomy. Overall, Watermark’s approach ensured a smooth rollout of its wellness technology and programming.

Take a Strategic Approach to Implementation

At the end of the webinar, Greg and Stephanie shared their biggest advice for communities that want to personalize their wellness programming with technology.

“Don’t make assumptions,” Greg said, “and get your members involved early.” At Peconic Landing, member ambassadors – not IT staff – are the first point of contact for assistance with Icon. Their involvement has lowered the barrier to entry for residents of all ages.

As for Stephanie’s advice? “Start with the end goal in mind.” From the beginning, Watermark’s North Star has been its holistic approach to wellness. That mission has guided every tech decision and smoothed out the path to implementation.

One of the best ways to successfully implement technology, though, is with the help of an attentive vendor. The right one should offer white-glove customer service, powerful integrations, and much more.That’s our approach at Icon. If you’d like to learn more, let’s talk – we’d love to hear from you.

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