Remember how that car commercial made the pitch to Baby Boomers? “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” Besides being a memorable line, it made a strong point. This generation wasn’t going to settle for a car just because it was good enough for dad.
By the same token, this is not your mother’s nurse call system. As those same Boomers move into their retirement years, they aren’t going to settle for the pendant buttons and pull cords that once were state-of-the-art emergency alerts.
Boomers may have good reason to not want nurse call systems* in their retirement residences.
1. Aging Boomers don’t want to be reminded of their limitations.
This is the generation that, in its own mind, epitomized strength and getting things done. If that is how you perceive yourself, how does it feel to then be asked to wear a pendant around your neck and push an alert button when you need help – or worse yet, when the time comes that you need help, to lack the capability to request it? For many, it will come down to a question of independence and dignity – something they Boomers may find lacking in a traditional call system.
2. Retiring Baby Boomers expect something better.
When the Baby Boomers finally plucked the flowers from their hair, they started driving BMWs. In the same way they once stood for peace and love, the Boomers came to epitomize affluence, comfort, and an expectation of service.
When caregivers take a long time to respond to a call system – whether it be because they cannot distinguish the nature of the alert, that they have become desensitized to it based on the spectrum of how it is used by residents, or otherwise – Boomers will quickly become dissatisfied. Service has to be a differentiator in today’s senior housing market; Boomers expect it and a nurse call system has to deliver. Too often, traditional systems with buttons and pull cords fall short.
3. They are sensitive to technology.
An afternoon at a café without WiFi? Not likely. As they scout out senior housing for their aging parents or for themselves, Baby Boomers will bring with them an expectation of technological sophistication. It’s an unspoken understanding: If a community’s call center dates back a decade or more, what else doesn’t it have? Aging Baby Boomers may or may not understand the technical advantages of a passive alert system that can send a distress signal to caregivers even before a negative health event, but they will understand a housing community’s commitment to keeping current in all aspects of technology – especially as it relates to care.
4. Boomers want to stay connected to family and friends.
Especially when seeking out a home for their elder parents, Baby Boomers will want to feel they remain in close touch with loved ones. They’ll be Skyping and texting and doing all they can to make sure they are close to mom and in tune with her medical and personal needs. They’ll soon realize that a traditional call system can’t deliver that high level of connectivity. Events may or may not be logged, and may or may not be reported to the family. Shifts change; information gets misplaced. It’s worth noting that a passive alert system, by comparison, can be designed to notify family automatically in case of an incident. Simplicity for staff; peace of mind for family.
Buttons and pull cords worked well for years, but Baby Boomers will be looking for more. They don’t want to drive their father’s car or tie themselves or their parents to outdated technology. Is your facility ready to move beyond traditional nurse call systems? What steps are you taking?
*Check your local regulations if you’re thinking of replacing your nurse call system as specific requirements vary state to state.