How To Use Technology to Promote Senior Independence

For seniors, independence is a crucial element in health and wellness. One study found that 94 percent of retirees say independence is a major source of satisfaction. The ability to manage independently helps improve mood, while simultaneously stimulating ongoing physical well-being.

Contrary to popular belief, though, independence is more than just a “state of mind.” While it does take a certain strength of will to remain self-sufficient in one’s later years, today’s technology can help older adults retain their independence both physically and socially.

It starts with health

In order to remain independent, seniors must retain a level of good health. Mobility, in addition to general wellness, helps seniors feel more able to manage for themselves.

To this end, fall prevention technology plays a critical role. Falls can be one of the biggest risks to senior health. However, falls also can be managed and often prevented using modern technology. Remote sensors give one example of what can be done. Remote sensor technology can measure gait, stride and other key indicators in order to establish when a senior is risk of a fall. The system then notifies caregivers allowing for greater autonomy.

Care coordination

Today’s healthcare system encourages caregivers to bring together all practitioners and to get them on a single page. A sophisticated communications portal can help achieve this. With close communication, often coordinated by the senior residence, a range of doctors and other health care providers can be in constant communication with one another. Such a communications system ensures multiple conditions are treated appropriately; pharmaceutical orders do not contraindicate; tests and procedures are sensible and appropriate. The result of all this cross-communication is better health and, ultimately, greater independence.

Improved socialization

These same communications portals can help connect seniors to friends and family outside their community, a key element in ongoing independence. Seniors who maintain social connections typically are those who feel empowered to manage for themselves. How does a communications portal fit in? Such technology can deliver easy to use social tools, with simplified push-button access to video chat and other social gateways. A portal also can make it easy to share calendars, to alert seniors of social opportunities within their own community. Socialization is a key element of independence, and a sophisticated portal can help to make it possible.

For senior housing operators, this question of independence is more than just an added benefit. It’s a crucial element in the overall care plan, and the overall business plan as well. Seniors need a sense of autonomy in order to feel satisfied – and resident satisfaction equates to stable populations and solid occupancy numbers. Resident health likewise is driven by independence, and health metrics are a key indicator of a housing operation’s success.

When operators can use technology to drive independence, they are more likely to see strong resident satisfaction and, ultimately, strong business outcomes.

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