Is Senior Living Ready for mHealth Solutions?

Eleven thousand Baby Boomers are retiring each day, according to the Pew Research Center. And they are unmistakably ready to embrace life and the advances in technology that are rendering life and well-being more complete. Is senior living ready for mHealth solutions? The answer is resoundingly, “yes.”

Seventy-four percent of seniors have a smartphone, and that number is on the rise, according to recent Pew Research Center findings. The study asked seniors if their mobile phones bring them freedom or put them on a leash. Eighty-two percent said that smartphones represent freedom. They also said smartphones don’t pose a negative distraction. Rather, seniors think smartphones are valuable for helping them connect with other people. Additionally, Pew found that tablet usage among seniors is up 125 percent.

Seniors Love Apps

Not only are seniors armed with smartphones and tablets, but they are willing to use them. A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that when seniors see a need for an app and are given the proper training to use it, they are highly motivated to use mHealth.

This Boomer gravitation toward mobile living is spreading to every area of their lives, and particularly to health. There are countless apps for seniors: apps that help them monitor their blood pressure; keep track of their nutrition; keep their brain sharp; help them with medication adherence, and more. There are apps to help them make doctor appointments, apps that allow them to talk to their doctors via email, text and video-chat. Seniors are taking well to the opportunity to control their healthcare, improve their lifestyle and prevent disease through the use of mobile health and apps. They are looking for all the tools they can get, and they expect their senior living community to provide the internet connection, training and support to make that happen.

Boomers Want More

Boomers are adamant that they do not want to live the way elderly people have in the past, says an article in the Minneapolis Post. The article quotes John McIlwain, senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute with saying, “[Boomers] think that they are different.”

“After all, they were groundbreakers who brought the world rock ‘n’ roll, civil rights and environmental movements, Vietnam War protest and technological revolution,” McIlwain said. “They expect to pioneer in old age too, and what they want is definitely ‘not their father’s nursing home.”.

Is Senior Living Ready for the mHealth Generation?

And so the question becomes: are senior living communities ready for the Boomers, who will soon hit in full force. Are they ready for the Boomers, who want to stay young while the age, who want to take care of their health, who want to stay connected to each other, their families and the outside world?

Are senior living homes ready to be the leaders in the newest apps and technology available for these Boomers? Is the environment that a senior living home offers one that supports technological advances and progress?

Do senior living communities have the proper infrastructure there to support the demands of mHealth? If the answer to that isn’t “yes,” then there will undoubtedly be some negative repercussions by way of smaller market share, lower occupancy, lower resident satisfaction and not to mention, lower health statistics.

Senior living is ultimately in the business of providing health and well-being. Starting today and into the future, health and well-being won’t be possible without mHealth as part of a proactive health strategy.

What are you doing to support the growth of mHealth at your senior living community?

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