In the competitive world of senior living communities, providers must drive even higher levels of resident engagement to boost the community’s marketability and, more importantly, lead to happier and healthier residents.
To drive higher levels of resident engagement, a community should incorporate a person-centered, holistic approach that provides a 360-degree view of the resident, addressing and meeting each resident’s physical, medical, social, and behavioral needs.
So, how can your senior living community move toward this integrated engagement strategy?
The Holistic Engagement Strategy for Residents
In the past, engagement was mostly limited to community events like BINGO, off-site excursions, dining room hours, or family visits. Most of these activities occurred in larger rooms within the community. With social distancing, many of those programs are now on hold, but thanks to technology advancements, residents have more options that include engaging from their rooms.
Today, communities are turning to nascent technologies like the Sentrics360SM platform to manage residents’ health and wellbeing. Higher levels of in-room engagement become a critical strategy to deliver the four pillars of care, which include:
Physical activity is a crucial component of an all-inclusive engagement strategy. It’s important that even residents with limited mobility have ways to exercise both in their rooms and around the campus.
As residents age, strength and balance become critical to mobility. Regular training and exercise can help prevent residents from falling. In addition, residents who exercise multiple times a week can expect significant benefits, including:
- Improved mental and physical health
- Better quality of life
- Lower risk of depression and dementia
- Strengthened bones
- Lower risk of health conditions such as stroke and heart disease.
To support these efforts, senior living communities can provide the Spiro100 exercise classes on the TV, which supplement community-led exercise classes, and are specifically designed for seniors. Plus the community can adjust or select resident-specific classes based on age, health and physical ability. Levels include:
- Chair-based exercises
- Chair assisted exercises
- Standing exercises
This can help ensure that residents are physically engaged and safe while they’re active.
As senior living communities add structured care management or even primary care services, their healthcare strategies will rely heavily on technology. What was once thought of as “new age” has become mainstream. To compete, senior living communities need to rethink how they approach care. New developments include:
- Integration to all-important Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)
- Access to telehealth services
- Integration of Artificial Intelligence to predict adverse events
Today, EMRs capture information about a resident’s needs at the point of care. Integrated life safety platforms, like Ensure360SM, will let the resident know that help is on the way. Telehealth services provide expert opinions from the comfort of home. COVID-19 made it acceptable and more widespread to use telehealth services within senior living communities.
While artificial intelligence is readily accepted in operating rooms, its use in senior living communities is largely untested—until now. Enrich360 integrates and correlates data from the other three platforms to identify relevant trends, predict adverse events, and present actionable data upon which caregivers can act to prevent or minimize those events from happening.
In the past, television served its purpose, which was to entertain, inform and provide a companion of sorts. While TV and movies are still useful, they also encourage social isolation, which can have a significant negative impact on a resident’s health and happiness. Conversely, social engagement can enhance overall wellbeing in three important ways:
- Improved mental health – Social isolation from friends, family, and the routines of normal life often lead to depression in seniors. This can morph easily into feelings of despair. However, when residents are engaged socially and interacting with caregivers, other residents, friends, and family, their outlook on life is far more positive.
- Improved physical health – When the human brain is happy and active, it releases chemicals and signals that boost the immune system and help fend off illness.
- Increased cognitive function – Socialization is one of the most important ways residents can keep their brain stimulated and active. Whether it’s playing games or simply having conversations and interacting with others, all of these cerebral exercises help decrease the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Today, providing authentic resident engagement must go beyond the traditional methodologies. We need to think beyond group activities and start planning for engagement opportunities that can meet a broader spectrum. Even when they can’t leave their room, residents want exciting new ways to engage and socialize, such as:
- Staying up to date – Residents should know what’s going on in their community on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. From being able to sign up for activities to perusing the lunch menu, residents now have a place where they can access all of the relevant community information easily so they can be active participants.
- A range of entertainment – Although some residents may be more than happy to just have the TV, others may want, more options to engage and be entertained such as:
- Community-based TV programming
- DVR recording
- Broadcasting community-wide events like arts and crafts tutorials, or BINGO, directly into the room so residents can participate without leaving their apartments
- A communication portal – The internet has made it easy for people to communicate and socialize even when they’re stuck inside. Whether it be access to social media, video communication apps, or room-to-room chatting—the more ways that residents have to socialize with other residents, friends, and family, the better.
In-room engagement tools are practical means for residential communities to improve resident behavior.
Take scientifically designed music from Coro Health as an example. Senior living communities can offer residents designer music that has a positive impact on sleep, mood, cognitive function, and depression. In one study, the authors conclude that “Music’s potential for successful use in therapeutic and clinical settings makes it a viable, low cost, side-effect free option in the treatment of sleep loss.” With better sleep, comes improved mood and behavior.
When you use clinically proven, outcome-based audio therapies, you can expect several tangible benefits, including:
- Decreased tension and anxiety
- Muscle relaxation
- A boost in self-esteem
- Better relationships
- Increased motivation and participation
In addition to improving behavior, in-room engagement technologies can help monitor behavioral patterns. Specifically, they provide a window that staff can look through to track changing behaviors such as:
- Fewer interactions with staff and other residents
- Sleep patterns
- Eating patterns
By staying informed, caregivers and family members can anticipate and act before worrisome behavior manifests into something worse.
Resident In-Room Engagement and Sentrics360
The Entertain360 and Engage360 platforms help senior living communities and their residents have meaningful in-room engagement anytime. Residents no longer have to wait for another activity to start, miss an important exercise class due to a conflicting appointment, or miss out on community events.
Whether it be through the television and movie programs they love, the games they can play, or the powerful new ways they connect with others inside and outside the community—Sentrics helps residents engage in a way that addresses their physical, medical, social, and behavioral needs.
Ensure360 and Enrich360 augment these entertainment and engagement channels. They help the residents call for help and see when help is on the way. They measure what matters, by pulling actionable data that help a community have a better understanding of how residents are engaging. And they identify risks in easy-to-understand actionable insights that allow the caregivers to act early to prevent adverse events and improve care outcomes.
Put simply, Sentrics360 is technology that your senior living community can leverage to create results and drive successful in-room engagement.
Interested in finding out more?
Sentrics is here to help.
- Modern Healthcare. Exploring the Convergence of Healthcare and Senior Housing.
- World Journal of Psychiatry. Impact of social isolation on behavioral health in elderly: Systematic review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4694557/
- Dialogues in Clinical NeuroScience. Affective immunology: where emotions and the immune response converge. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5442367/
- Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease. Strategies for dementia prevention: latest evidence and implications. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5546647/
- NCBI. The Music that Helps People Sleep and the Reasons They Believe it Works.