While it is important that an assisted living community have a viable and active marketing team to bring seniors into the apartments available, the battle for resident engagement is only beginning when seniors move in. Once residents are a part of the senior living community, medical clinicians and staff members must work consistently to keep seniors healthy, active, and engaged.
Isolation is a real threat to residents, proving to be detrimental to emotional, physical, and cognitive health if left unaddressed. Gerontology research has proven for decades that social engagement, social support, and feelings of belonging are crucial to healthy aging. Studies have shown that social isolation can lead to negative disease outcomes and to increased psychological and cognitive issues.
Traditional care models encourage senior living community staff to encourage socialization through participation in group activities. Those residents who do not attend group activities throughout the month are often put on one-to-one visits with staff to assure that they are receiving social interaction. However, interaction does not always equal engagement and traditional models are slowly starting to incorporate technology into care plans to fight isolation in residents.
Senior living executives and medical clinicians are dipping their toe into the world of social engagement through technology. Here are a few ways that the right software can reduce isolation in assisted living and other senior living communities.
1. It can create community
Social interaction with peers and neighbors can be tricky for seniors to navigate, especially if residents have lived alone for years. Without practice engaging with others and making friends, residents may struggle to strike up conversation with neighbors down the hall. However, studies have shown that specialized chatrooms and online interaction can give seniors a chance to engage with a community of people who are in similar situations, creating an online community of friendship and support.
2. It can foster connection with family and friends
Moving into an assisted living community can be stressful. New residents are bombarded with new faces, new ways of doing things, new routines, and a new environment. Many times, residents can find solace by staying connected with family and friends. Senior care communities are finding great success by offering alternative ways for seniors to connect with loved ones. Gone are the days of a phone call, with options ranging from video calls to emails, seniors are reaching out to their favorite people with the assistance of technology.
3. It can improve community quality of life
Software doesn’t just give residents the chance to communicate with those in the greater community. The right software and platform can give residents the chance to explore their senior living community as well. Through social media and posts about everything from menus to upcoming activities, residents can engage in the life of their home which can lead to a feeling of belonging and support.
4. It can bridge the communication gap
Finally, choosing the right software can fight isolation by bringing residents face-to-face with their medical team. Senior care solutions such as mHealth and telehealth technology can give seniors the chance to ask questions and check in with doctors or specialists after an appointment or procedure.
Isolation can potentially cause problems for seniors. However, technology is giving care providers a list of options to explore with those residents. How are you using technology to get your residents out of their apartments?