Ready to Invest in Senior Living Technology? Not So Fast.
The last few years have seen significant investments in senior living technology: in 2020, 80 percent of senior living providers increased tech spending, and 87 percent expected tech budget increases in 2021. In 2022, senior living leaders continue to invest in tech with an eye on how it will position them for the future.
The boons of tech – better communication with families, virtual engagement classes, intuitive ways to share community news, and more – crystalized during the pandemic. But senior living administrators quickly realized that tech can improve services, quality of life, and team morale even in less troubling times.
In many communities, tech budgets continue to rise, but senior living administrators should look before they leap. It’s much easier to enjoy all the benefits tech can offer when you go in with a clear plan of action. Here are three components yours should include.
1. Find Tech that Aligns with Your Community’s Goals
Senior living administrators understand that technology alone won’t lead to better resident health or more streamlined shift changes. After all, if nobody knows how or when to use new tech (or if they refuse to use it because they don’t understand why they should), it won’t change anything.
Put differently, staff and residents are used to the way things have always been. If you’re going to disrupt the status quo, you better have a good reason.
So it’s important to find technology that helps you improve on the things that are already a priority for your community, like helping residents achieve a high quality of life and optimizing holistic wellness.
To do this, look for a technology partner who will help you customize the solution that supports your work and your residents. Senior living tech has the ability to underpin and amplify your mission, but only if the technology is tied to that mission from the beginning.
For example, a community engagement platform can be designed to support the programming, nutrition plan, and care that you already provide. Want to see this kind of purpose-forward tech adoption in action? Take a look at how Broadmead uses tech to support its life enrichment goals.
2. Incorporate an Education Strategy
Effective technology implementation plans include a robust educational component.
Let’s say you’ve found a technology platform that aligns with your community’s goals – a great start. Your staff and residents are primed to get aboard because they understand and are excited by its potential.
But there’s still a major potential adoption barrier. Most people won’t teach themselves how to use new technology – many because they don’t have time! If you want buy-in and commitment from staff and residents, provide plenty of opportunity – and time – for them to learn how to do it.
Sound overwhelming? Find a technology partner that offers comprehensive support for education and training initiatives. This may take the form of…
- A pilot program. Users can start learning how to use the technology, and program administrators can work with their technology partner to identify and resolve pain points, bugs, and more.
- Staff training sessions. A technology partner can organize an onboarding program or training classes to get staff familiar with the technology so that they’re able to use it in ways that make their lives easier. (You may decide to get residents’ family members on board, too, especially since part of your tech solution might involve a family communication tool to connect them with staff.)
- Resident training sessions. Increasingly, older adults expect technology from their senior living communities. But that doesn’t mean they’ll know how to use the platform you choose. Training helps ensure residents get the full value of your tech, from facilitating their social lives to prolonging their independence.
The key here is hands-on learning. A few training videos or a company-wide slide presentation won’t cut it. People need time to interact with the technology so they can understand not only how it works in real-world situations but also how it can fit into their routines and add color to their workdays or lifestyle. This may take some time! Your technology partner can help you plan for that.
3. Make Sure Your New Tech Works with (and Improves!) Your Existing Stack
New technology won’t help you achieve goals if you don’t have the infrastructure to support it – or if it works against the platforms you already have in place.
For example, if your community is mostly tech-free today, you’ll have to first invest in some basic infrastructure, like fast, reliable internet across your community. Figuring out how best to do that can be a project in and of itself.
If you have some tech solutions in place already, you’ll have to decide whether you want to replace them entirely or integrate them with your new platform. And if your goal is integration, you’ll have to find a technology partner willing to support you in that work. Ideally, that partner will also help you understand how their systems can help you enhance the value of what’s already available in your community.
In a best-case scenario, that partner will also offer support beyond the signing of the contract in the form of training and tech support as your staff and residents get acquainted with the new system.
Optimize Your Investment with a Trusted Technology Partner
Investing in senior living technology can yield significant ROI for your community and set you up to embrace new technologies that become available. But if you rush the process, you won’t realize these benefits.
A technology partner can help make sure the tech you adopt actually yields the benefits you hope for. Icon is proud to be a partner to every community we work with. To learn more about our partnerships, get in touch.