When was the last time you used technology in your daily life? For most of us, checking our smartphones or computers is second nature. It is the first thing we look for when we wake up. It’s the last thing we do before we go to bed. But what may come as a surprise to most people is that senior citizens are no different.
Skeptics may scoff that older people don’t need technology to complicate their lives. Some people even think that seniors are afraid of technology or don’t want to learn how to use it. The reality could not be farther from the truth. It’s easy to dismiss Facebook or FaceTime as trivial, but for seniors these are important tools to stay in touch with friends and family.
In fact, technology can benefit seniors living in community residences in multiple ways. From helping them stay in touch with loved ones to making sure they can keep track of their daily medication, technology is transforming senior’s lives. Keep reading to learn about how technology in senior residences has become essential.
Maintaining Social Connections
Ask any senior their feelings on moving out of their home and into a residence. No matter the reason, no one likes change, least of all when you have to leave the place where you’ve lived most of your life, and made memories and connections to people you know and love. When a senior moves into a new community, they may feel lonely and isolated from family, friends, and old neighbors. This is where technology helps.
Although seniors have lower tech adoption rates than other ages, they’re quickly catching up. In just the last few years, the number of senior adults owning a smartphone has increased from 18% to 42%! What this means is that they can use email, Facebook and even FaceTime to talk to their children and grandchildren. Thanks to video calling, they can even attend family events like birthdays virtually. Even if they’re living miles away from everyone.
Foster a Sense of Community
While the technology scene is dominated by the younger crowd, remember that the Internet or computers were not invented yesterday. In fact, tech invention and innovation go way back, and the baby boomer gen we now call seniors, contributed a great deal to some of the things we take for granted today. Change may be fast and furious these days but make no mistake, not all seniors are afraid of it.
That said, if you own or manage senior homes, best be ready to offer your residents the tools they need to live happy and engaging lives. You work hard to build a sense of community for your residents, and now, there are tech features that can help you enhance your community engagement services.
Resident homes are often perceived as being isolated. Nothing could be further from the truth! Good community engagement services can connect residents to the outside world, and allow them to live a life fully engaged with the community. For example, they can make restaurant reservations using a self-serve system, and book their places for various activities. They can lookup event schedules with daily menus, and pick and choose the activity that fits their mood.
Safety First – The Internet of Medical Things
In spite of concerns of caring for an ageing population, there has never been a better time to grow old. From smart devices that can monitor a person’s movements to sensors that can track sleeping patterns, the Internet of Medical Things is growing fast. Smartphone apps and wearable devices can help seniors monitor their own health. They can even automatically send alerts to caregivers – doctors, nurses, family members – in case of a fall or other medical emergency.
Health care staff are using technology to send reminders to residents. They can even use telemedicine and video calling to ‘see’ and diagnose seniors from the comfort of their own home! No one has to worry about driving a car or going out.
For example, the staff is notified when a 911 call is made, or a call for help is left incomplete. “Automated presence calls” ensure that residents are regularly pinged to verify their well-being. Residents can also call for safety assistance with a simple push of a button.
These features enhance the residence, as well as help take care of the resident and ease the minds of family members as well.
Integration with smart appliances means that your residents can make use of self-service features on tablets. Medication reminders can be automated, and family members and staff can receive simultaneous alerts and updates within minutes of an emergency. Video paging means that staff can receive instant video feedback of the resident when an emergency alert is triggered.
These, and many more features ensure that the “Internet of Medical Things” is used to full capacity to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents.
Staying Healthy – Physically and Mentally
Exercise is an important part of staying healthy for seniors – both physically and mentally. Residents can make use of the latest advances in technology and stream their favorite music, keep in touch with their relatives via FaceTime, and watch a wide selection of films to keep entertained.
Games like Sudoku or Mahjong can do wonders for the mental health of seniors. They can play these games with their grandchildren as well! Many games offer a way for nearby people to play together, so they promote social interaction as well. Games are one of the best things tech has to offer to seniors!
It’s clear to see that implementing tech solutions that incorporate engaging and safety features for your residents are rapidly becoming a requirement should you want your residence to remain relevant and reputable. Make sure you’re not lagging when it comes to these services, because your residents are coming to expect it!