Having spent decades caring for others, it is hardly surprising to discover that in their later years, older adults want to care for themselves. While age may put some limitations on one’s activities, seniors still expect autonomy, independence, the ability to manage and govern their own daily tasks.
Technology can help to make that happen. For the senior living executive looking to enrich the resident experience, a thoughtful investment in current technologies can help to ensure a meaningful level of independence.
One technology in particular holds the promise of enhanced autonomy for residents of senior housing: Remote monitoring systems, which combine ongoing, automated watchfulness with smart software tools.
Here’s how such systems help to foster senior independence:
- A remote monitoring system acts automatically, tracking a range of health indicators without the need for outside intervention. For residents, this equates to a significant quality of life experience. No one is eager to be under the watchful eye of a caregiver. While seniors may appreciate staff’s attention to their wellness, a sense of being “watched over” can erode independence. When remote monitoring does the “watching,” residents regain not just autonomy, but dignity.
- Remote monitoring can help to give seniors independence from a literal constraint. For years senior safety technology has relied on buttons and pull-cords to sound safety alerts. This meant senior residents must literally be “tethered” to alert systems – always within reach of their emergency signal or wearing a special pendant. Remote monitoring watches for signs of potential negative health events, and can sound an alarm without any action on the part of the resident. The senior becomes independent, once again, from the constraints of the past.
- Independence relies foremost on wellness. What are the hallmarks of autonomy? Freedom to move about, to choose one’s own activities, to socialize. All these are put in jeopardy or compromised when a senior experiences a fall or negative health event.
It’s easy to see how remote monitoring technology can break the cycle here. Remote sensors feed wellness data into smart software, or “artificial intelligence,” which records baseline indicators of health. When something appears off, caregivers can intervene before a negative health event occurs or a negative condition arises. With better health comes increased freedom, which leads to better resident quality of life.
Some will say that independence is a state of mind, and perhaps it is. But the aging process will inevitably erode autonomy to some extent. It is just in the nature of things that we can’t do all that we once did. But independence still can be sustained to a great degree with intelligent investment in technologies such as remote monitoring.
Given residents’ desire for autonomy, have you looked at the connections between technology and independence?