With such abundant technology options available, it’s easier than ever to make sure your residents are connected and part of the Internet age. But with choice can come challenges — how do you know which software applications will be right for your resident mix?
Before making the investment, here are some aspects to consider, so you can add software that’s meaningful and engaging, no matter where you are or what you offer:
1. Your Goals
Much like software that’s geared toward business uses or sales contacts, applications that apply to residents should start with a goal. Usually, that’s determined by examining what type of needs or long-term uses you can expect to see at your organization.
For example, your residents may be increasingly interested in social media that keeps them in touch with friends and family, but they don’t want to navigate through numerous online platforms themselves. Choosing a social media solution that’s specifically designed for seniors and has a wealth of functionality can help residents stay in touch more easily.
Another goal might be fall and injury prevention, particularly with assisted living or memory care. In that case, you might consider pairing software with a monitoring solution that can enhance quality of care and issue alerts intelligently.
Understanding residents’ needs — not just now, but also into the future — will make goals clearer, and streamline software investment decisions.
2. Infrastructure Requirements
Having the most advanced software available isn’t much good if you don’t have the infrastructure to support it. Your senior living organization will need high-speed Internet capability to support numerous users on the same application, and also have enough bandwidth for data storage and networking.
Before making a major investment in software, embarking on a network infrastructure assessment may be necessary to make sure your infrastructure is optimized to support what you need. This type of service can also assess your routing and switching capabilities, wireless design, security protocols, operational mandates, and hardware solutions.
Even if your current hardware can support your new software, what happens when you build a new wing and suddenly have 300 more residents who need access? An assessment can be valuable for creating an effective operating environment that makes your software into an asset, not a challenge.
3. Maintenance Needs
Every software application, no matter how simple, will always need some measure of maintenance. That might just be monthly security updates that patch vulnerabilities, or it could include much more frequent tweaks that optimize the software’s capabilities.
Understanding what type of upkeep is needed for the software will be useful, because you can determine if you have in-house resources that support that maintenance, or whether you should seek managed services and support.
For residents, this type of support includes help desk personnel who can answer questions about functionality, address connectivity issues, re-install faulty versions, and generally make sure that residents are happy with what they’re using. And happy residents lead to stable occupancy, lower staff turnover, and stronger word-of-mouth referrals.
No matter what type of software solution you’re considering, it’s worth making an investment of time before you spend the money — think about your goals, infrastructure, and support, and you’ll go a long way toward a successful software implementation.