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How Senior-focused Technology Changes Assisted Living

Engagement May 10, 2020

Technology-Driven Resident Engagement Is Changing Senior Living

Data driven solutions can improve physical health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life.

The degree of socialization residents have with people in their lives – family, friends, caregivers – is an important component of their wellbeing. Increasing the volume and variety of a resident’s engagement improves physical and mental health as well as the overall quality of life. Technology can be a big driver of this.

The reality is that for most residents in senior living communities, technology is intimidating. These residents may not embrace a device they don’t recognize or is overly complex. Integrating technology into a device familiar to residents greatly increases the likelihood that they will adopt it.

Today, forward-looking, senior living communities are leveraging a familiar technology—the television–to create a holistic, resident-centered approach to increasing engagement.

 

Integrating Entertainment and Engagement

Television viewing is the most popular pastime of residents in senior living communities. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 89% of seniors aged 65 and older watch television every day. On average they spend more than four hours per day in front of their sets. Integrating technology-based engagement solutions with the television discretely introduces new technology in a device residents use every day. It also delivers a new way to connect them with the community, family, and a host of functionality that drives purposeful, measurable engagement.

The television continues to provide senior living residents with the standard offering of news and entertainment, and can also deliver:

  • Personal Calendar
  • Community News
  • Activity Schedules
  • Service Requests
  • Local Weather
  • Dining Menus
  • Health and Wellness Education

It can be used to stream favorite videos, access personal photos, and play games. The clinical team can program it to include components of resident therapy. It can deliver health and wellness questionnaires. It can offer music designed to encourage healing. And it can deliver periodic pop-up forms to check in on residents to gauge their mood or see how they’re feeling. Used as a strategic tool, the television becomes an interactive portal that lets residents engage directly with their communities.

They can sign up for activities or RSVP to events. They can order meals. The television can also be used to create a personal calendar that saves registrations to senior living community activities and outside appointments. It can signal reminders as they approach. The senior living technology driving this engagement puts residents in control of their day, maximizing their independence.  

And this engagement isn’t just between the resident and the community. Residents can connect with one another. They can connect with friends outside the community. And, most importantly, they can use it to stay connected to family by offering photo sharing and chat capabilities. Families can check in on loved ones remotely and remind them to keep appointments or participate in scheduled activities. They can even see the programs a resident has watched, view the events he or she has signed up for, and monitor television use over time.   

And because the engagement technology delivered through the television captures data, it provides families and caregivers actionable insight about what a resident is doing when they are alone. For example, if a resident is changing channels at 3:00 AM, it could signal a disruption in his or her regular sleep pattern. Seeing this puts families and caregivers in a position to discuss their resident care plans proactively in advance of an adverse event occurring. It helps a caregiver anticipate issues and act preemptively…attending to residents before a situation becomes more serious.

 

Data is the DNA of Resident Engagement

Every interaction between the resident and the TV is a separate data point. Collectively these data points are the fundamental and distinctive characteristics of the resident’s regular routine. The television is one component of a comprehensive system that collects and analyzes huge data sets and runs predictive analytics to identify patterns and note exceptions.

It’s part of a 360-degree ecosystem that captures, analyzes, and delivers information to caregivers graphically. The interface is a user-friendly dashboard that displays actionable information in an easy to read format so that they can anticipate the needs of residents. Integrating such technology into the daily lives of residents drives engagement, keeps them informed and entertained, and results in a healthier, happier environment.

Happy healthy seniors are less of a strain on care team resources. Residents of “more engaged” senior living communities have fewer emergency department incidents than those of less engaged communities. In senior living facilities where there is more electronic engagement, emergency department incidents decrease at an annualized rate of 28%. And happy healthy residents are more likely to provide high ratings in HCAHPS surveys. They also tend to live longer and have longer stays.

 

Adopting Technology to Seize Future Opportunities

Transforming the TV into an interactive engagement engine provides a 360-degree view of residents. With the newest retirement home TV technology, the data generated by the resident can be integrated with input from other sources, such as electronic medical records. This greater engagement provides families and caregivers a more direct role in managing the welfare of residents and is a fundamental aspect of how technology is transforming the assisted living industry.

Seniors are tech-savvy. According to the World Economic Forum, older Americans are comfortable online, use their smart device, and navigate mobile apps on a daily basis. This has important implications for the senior living industry because “aging, technology and health issues will be inextricably linked in the future”. The senior care and housing industry will need to provide technology solutions to engage effectively the aging population of tech natives transitioning to senior living communities.

Progressive operators understand this and are incorporating technology into the senior living experience. They are providing the type of engagement technology necessary for seniors to remain active and live more fulfilled lives. To stay relevant in an evolving industry, senior living communities are embracing technology platforms like a real time location system (RTLS) that engages, enriches, and entertains residents. They are implementing these technologies to ensure quality resident care for their residents and to support and improve their overall wellbeing.

Sentrics is at the vanguard of this. Sentrics is a vibrant ecosystem of data-driven solutions focused on delivering the highest quality of life for senior residents. Through actionable physical, medical, behavioral, and social data, Sentrics provides senior living communities with a 360-degree view of the wellbeing of each resident. The Sentrics’ integrated platform provides a comprehensive offering designed to drive greater outcomes across the senior living care continuum. While each solution provides value on its own, you’ll want to have the entire Sentrics360 suite.