It is no secret that seniors who engage in new learning opportunities are healthier. The terms “lifelong learning” and “use it or lose it” are often found in senior care jargon, but new research is showing that simply working a crossword puzzle will not produce better results. In fact, a study published in Psychological Science showed that in order to make significant cognitive gains, seniors need to actively learn a new skill. This new skill should rely on short and long term memory, and should actively engage the senior throughout the learning process. Senior care communities are turning from passive lectures to more hands on courses utilizing senior technology as a way to keep residents sharp and happy. Beyond the fact that senior technology can provide a new skill to the audience, Boomers and other technologically savvy seniors are seeking out senior care communities that put senior technology at the forefront of programming. Residents can benefit from senior technology programs by introducing any of our favorite education initiatives.
Facebook and Instagram aren’t just for Millennials or young Boomers. Facebook pages are quickly becoming the norm for adults over the age of 65 as a way to connect with family members or find old friends. Introducing residents to this type of senior technology can not only be educational, but also an untapped social opportunity for residents of all ages and abilities. Senior care communities should be sure to offer a wide variety of social media learning, from basic classes on how to set up a Facebook page to more advanced options like how to edit photos using Instagram filters.
Face to Face Interaction
Using Skype or Facetime, residents can get a more personal connection with family or friends who are not nearby for a visit. Residents can learn the ins and outs of the systems and applications, allowing them to virtually attend a family member’s Baby Shower or college graduation. This piece of senior technology can also be used for residents to invite family members to dial in for care plan conferences or to observe the resident in a physical therapy session to brag on progress.
Virtual Tours and Lectures
There are apps and opportunities for residents to attend lectures or tours of places all around the world. With just a tablet or smartphone, residents can audit a community college course or take a docent led tour of the Museum of Modern Art. Recreation professionals within the senior care industry can literally take residents anywhere with just a few clicks and swipes.
Senior technology isn’t all about online friends and tours. Indeed, mHealth applications can allow residents to connect with their doctor or care clinicians outside of the office walls. Educating residents on this piece of senior technology can equip them to make better preventative or follow up care decisions and check in with their doctors more often.
Before opportunity education initiatives for residents, senior care communities should assure they have the network and staff capacity for extra online activity. A dedicated IT support staff member is a nice touch, especially to foster relationships with residents and have office hours for stop in visits and questions. The benefits of senior technology can pay off with more engaged, and sharper, residents.
How do you incorporate senior technology with your residents? What is holding you back from maximizing your online opportunities for residents?