Future-Proof Your Community with Smart Aging Technology
The last two years showed us just how much technology can affect the social and physical health of senior living residents. From telemedicine to virtual fitness classes to video calls with loved ones, digital solutions were essential to keeping many in this population alive and healthy during the pandemic – and, unsurprisingly, tech adoption rates skyrocketed.
So what does this mean for the role of tech in senior living in the future? For one thing, the expectations of residents and prospective residents have changed.
But that’s actually good: adopting smart aging tech will help communities not only attract today’s more tech-savvy older adults but also address the labor shortage and position themselves to break into emerging areas in the space.
Let’s take a look at how.
Addressing the Labor Shortage
The pandemic worsened a shortage in senior living staffing. In September 2021, 96 percent of assisted living communities reported they were understaffed.
Demand for caregivers will only increase, and technology will be essential to easing the workload. Communities should look for solutions that empower staff to more efficiently deliver high-quality care which translates to excellent physical and social outcomes.
- EHR and eMAR platforms make it easier for staff to schedule assessments, track health measurements, and send HIPAA-compliant information.
- Telemedicine and digital medicine make physician’s visits faster and more accessible – and require fewer employees (no drivers, for example).
- Smart devices that track steps, gait, blood pressure, and more can provide valuable data that empowers caregivers to make proactive health decisions – without requiring constant staff monitoring.
Communities should leverage these and similar tech solutions to support their existing staff and prepare for growing numbers of residents as Baby Boomers continue to age.
Expanding into Ancillary Services
Baby Boomers and those in Generation X want to live independently as they age – in fact, a whopping 70 percent of Americans 50 years and older plan to stay in their current homes for as long as possible.
One way for senior living communities to connect with this population is to expand into ancillary services. Many communities are already doing this: in 2021, assisted living communities increased revenue from ancillary services – including pharmacy services, in-home care, concierge services, fitness, and rehab – by 26 percent.
Key to making those services attractive to tech-savvy Boomers and Gen Xers, of course, will be delivering them in a tech-forward way. Think: on-demand fitness classes or an app that lets people track the status of their prescriptions.
If app development isn’t likely in your future, your community leaders can deliver value as consultants. Consider expanding your services to include seminars or individual consultations for those who wish to age in place. You can highlight various smart tech solutions your community relies on and explain how individuals can embrace to stay independent and connected.
Offering services outside the walls of your community can not only diversify your revenue today but also let you build relationships with people who may eventually become residents.
Competing with Active Adult
While many Americans want to age in place, active adult communities are proving a popular alternative. In fact, Florida’s The Villages was the fastest-growing metro area in the US in the last decade.
What does this mean for traditional senior living? Realistically, they’re only competing with active adult communities for a relatively small population of residents. Taking cues from these communities can help persuade those who might be on the fence.
Unsurprisingly, tech matters in active adult. Luckily, much of the tech that appeals to the 55+ crowd can also benefit those in IL, AL, and MC, including…
- Voice command devices (like Alexa) that can deliver weather reports, share community calendars, and play music.
- Smart home tech like automatic blind and light controls.
- Wearables that track everything from daily steps to heart rate (as Apple Watch does)
- Fall detectors
Equipping your community with tech like this improves daily life for current residents and staff while positioning you to attract the next generation of senior living residents.
Delivering Better Health Outcomes Starts with Smarter Tech
Smart tech solutions empower senior living teams to keep residents both socially and physically healthy. Those solutions also position your community to attract the aging Boomers and Gen Xers who are accustomed to tech-powered lives.
To learn more about how smart aging tech can launch your community into the future,