While the core mission of senior care is very personal and human, technologies that allow senior living providers to better serve their residents are demonstrating their potential to improve resident retention and increase occupancy rates across the senior care spectrum. Technologies that help keep residents connected, informed, entertained and engaged, as well as safe and better cared for, are increasingly being adopted by senior living providers who are wise enough to make the investments required to be among the leading providers in their space.
Here are four technologies communities can use to improve resident satisfaction, health and quality of life – and thereby improve retention.
1. Connectivity systems for senior living residents
Wired communities with Internet-connected computer systems that allow residents to stay connected with friends, family and the world at large go a long way towards keeping residents better connected, engaged and satisfied. But to be most effective, residents must be provided more than just an Internet-connected computer. Software and other adaptive tools that make common tasks easy are essential for a population that may have limited experience with computers, as is providing ongoing, on-site training and support for residents to drive understanding and utilization.
Keystone Connect is an example of a purpose-built communications and engagement solution for the residents of senior communities. The Connect tool makes it easy for senior living residents to stay engaged with their family, friends, community, as well as their own health and wellness leading to an enhanced quality of life.
2. Ambient health monitoring technologies
Ambient sensor-based monitoring technology is one of the most revolutionary advances in senior care in recent memory. Discrete, environmentally embedded sensors in residents’ apartments monitor their activities of daily living (ADLs) and functional vital signs, and recognize changes from norms. These deviations are interpreted by an intelligent system that recognizes when residents are at elevated risk of falling or may be developing other common illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, pressure ulcers, and more. Upon recognition, ambient health monitoring technology can send alerts to both staff and family so preventative measures may be taken.
With these solutions, no action is required of the resident or the staff to identify seniors at risk for negative health events. Residents at high risk can be discretely recognized early, without any special wearables or overly intrusive observation or testing by staff – resulting in improved quality of care without infringing on a resident’s privacy or relying on them to indicate when they need help.
Ambient monitoring technologies can facilitate a higher quality of care while helping to avoid adverse events that could require a resident to leave the community.
3. Senior-friendly gaming platforms
One of the largest senior living providers in the nation, Sunrise Senior Living, recently reported how playing video games makes seniors happier. Sunrise cited a North Carolina State University Study that showed that “seniors who play video games, even if they only pick up controllers from time to time, report better emotional health than their counterparts. Those who do not play the games report more negative feelings and tend to have higher levels of depression.” Platforms such as the Nintendo Wii, which involves a range of body motions by participants, have also been shown to have health benefits for seniors. Happier, healthier residents naturally stay longer in their communities, and can improve resident retention for senior living providers.
4. High-tech health and fitness systems
Residents who fully utilize fitness rooms and fitness classes provided by communities are much more likely to maintain a satisfactory health status. Fitter residents are less likely to fall, develop pressure ulcers, or acquire illnesses that could require them to move from their current senior living home to a provider that offers a high level of care.
Exercise equipment (such as Technogym) that’s computerized and specialized for the aging body is making its way into more and more senior communities and promotes resident retention through physical fitness.
What is your senior living community doing to promote resident retention? How has technology helped you to increase your average length of stay and occupancy rates? Let us know in the comments section below.