Resident Isolation in Senior Living: Is Technology the Solution?

Senior care professionals know that while science proves that isolation for aging adults can lead to increased depression and even memory loss acceleration, it can still be difficult to bring residents out of their apartments and into the life of the community. Residents move into a community for many unique reasons, but healthy socialization may not be at the top of their priority lists. Instead, seniors may isolate due to illness, decreased mobility, self esteem issues, or an introverted personality.

While having an active program and event calendar is certainly an important part of the formula to crack resident isolation, a bit of senior technology can bring even more socialization opportunities to your residents. With the right platform, this senior technology can be even be added as care plan interventions based on resident interest and preference. Here are just a few ways that the correct technology can bring residents out of their rooms, and into a whole new world.

Self directed leisure pursuits

Life Enrichment, or Activity, professionals excel in senior care communities with offering a calendar full of events, trips, programs and other opportunities to keep residents engaged and busy. After all, bored residents are often cranky residents, and cranky residents are often both disengaged and dissatisfied. However, the Baby Boomers who are entering senior care communities, whether in short term rehabilitation or long term, are already coming with quite a bit of online experience. Many seniors over the age of 60 have Facebook accounts, and they stay involved with family and friends via FaceTime, Skype, email, and their social media newsfeeds. Upon coming to senior care communities, these residents expect to continue the same self directed leisure pursuits.

Senior technology that offers not only a platform that can accommodate all the WiFi needs of staff, residents, and visitors, but also a way to streamline these resident-requested services is key to keeping Boomers connected to previous internet pursuits. Residents can check out photos of a recent family event or video call a grandchild in college miles away. They can update their Facebook status and shoot an email off with their latest therapy goals and updates all with a fast connection, right from their rooms. Isolation is nearly impossible for this internet savvy generation, if given the correct and appropriate senior technology options.

Crowd control

Sometimes, residents are simply not interested in large group activities that are offered within the community. Some residents have been introverts their entire lives who prefer plenty of quiet time, while other will have pain issues that can prohibit group activity involvement. Isolation is sometimes the result of simply not wanting to be in group activities, for a variety of reasons.

The correct senior technology options can give crowd-shy residents the chance to still interact with friends, family, and the internet population. Even if residents are  beginners with internet options, senior-specific technology can make connecting easy to do, while still giving more advanced users the ability to connect to their favorite sites.

Expanded horizons

Finally, senior technology can reduce isolation by tapping into a new world of opportunities to offer residents throughout the community. Having a senior technology platform that has WiFi capabilities can mean that activity professionals can plan video calls with museums and other places of interest throughout the world. Family members that live far away can dial in for special events or presentations. Residents who may not attend group activities such as games or exercise may just find they love other group programs that can be offered with the assistance of senior technology.

Senior technology interventions play a vital role in person-centered programming within the senior care industry. Isolation can be virtually eliminated with the help of tablets, a WiFi connection, and an easy way for seniors to connect.

How do you keep seniors busy and engaged when they prefer to stay inside their apartments? How do you incorporate technology to keep your isolated residents engaged?

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