9 ASSISTED LIVING TECHNOLOGIES YOU NEED IN YOUR SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY
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Ceren @ ITL
A sink gets clogged. A window is broken. The LTC TV remote is not behaving. Life happens. That’s why you have a maintenance team on site. Or maybe you don’t. But naturally, someone needs to be notified and the issue needs to be resolved. So how do your residents let you know that there is a problem? Maybe they call or if they’re tech-savvy seniors, email, or physically walk up to a staff member to let them know. The issue is noted, or maybe forgotten. If it is noted, it may not be completed diligently, or followed up on, and no one is held accountable. Even if you have the greatest maintenance team in the world, service requests should be recorded and noted for records and reference in the future.
The solution? An easy-to-use, simple yet effective service request system that will organize your senior living community’s requests and create an element of accountability. After all, your residents are at the heart of your community, and you want to keep them happy and taken care of.
TIP: Make sure the system you choose allows residents, families and all your staff members to create requests that you can then track locally, regionally or on a corporate-wide basis.
It’s a difficult task to relay important information to every resident in your assisted living community, especially on a moment’s notice. Let’s say there is an outbreak in your community. How do you get the word out to your residents? Mass emails? Word of mouth? Most conventional methods tend to be ineffective or time-consuming. One of the best assisted living technologies to get the word out is to have a digital messaging system that displays the information immediately across LTC TVs dispersed in your community or in the residents’ suites. Quick and easy!
TIP: Ensure the platform you use will allow you to have multiple different displays throughout your building so you can display information appropriate to each location.
In order to comply with government standards, assisted living communities must have their staff trained on a variety of educational courses. Besides these courses, you also want to ensure that all of your staff members are knowledgeable about community policies and procedures and retirement activities and have a place where they can easily access these documents. Some assisted living communities still use paper and pen for these courses, but an investment in a digital learning portal is extremely valuable. It will keep you organized and ensure that all staff members are up-to-date on training. You can also easily review or print reports whenever you’d like, or have them automatically sent to you.
TIP: Confirm that you can enrol staff by department, that you can set a training calendar for the whole year in advance and that you can manage reports from a department, administration or head office level.
Bulletin boards are great. They are colourful ports of information that can be referenced daily. However, in assisted living communities, they fall short of their goal to provide knowledge with their numerous drawbacks. Updating them is a hassle, especially for busy staff members. They can be hard to read and difficult to visit on a daily basis for senior residents with mobility issues. All in all, they tend to be unreliable and difficult to maintain, which defeats their very purpose. With digital bulletin board technology, changes to menus and retirement activities take seconds and are immediately displayed on LTC TVs all around the community and even in the residents’ suites, so that residents can stay informed at all times.
TIP: Find out whether your solution is just a glorified PowerPoint or if you can use the information in different, useful ways – like printing menus and calendars as well as showing them on the TVs. Don’t get stuck with repetitive, unnecessary work re-entering all your activity calendars and menus in Word, Publisher or any other software.
On the topic of senior living menus and activity calendars, whether you use a traditional bulletin board or a digital bulletin board, it is helpful to have a printable monthly version that you can hand out, post on your website or send to family members of residents. You can spend hours or days working on perfecting this document in Word or another program, or you can save time and avoid the stress by working with an activity calendar system that automatically creates a monthly spread of your retirement activities that is fully customizable. You’ll wonder why you ever did it any other way.
TIP: Make sure you can print daily, weekly and monthly calendars and menus from one interface and not have to enter different data each time.
Sometimes it’s hard enough getting the word out to your assisted living community residents. Keeping their families involved in community activities is a whole other ball game. You could of course send out mass emails with information, or upload a calendar to your website. But these types of activities take up a significant amount of time, and are difficult to update at a moment’s notice. What if you had a resident and family member portal that could be easily accessed from anywhere with an internet connection and no additional work would be necessary to update it? What if it could also send mass emails to your family members? Welcome to the future of assisted living technology.
TIP: Give family members the ability to sign themselves up for the service. Don’t rely on your staff members to do it for them.
Ever wish your community could earn a little extra money? Rhetorical question, obviously. Of course you do! Advertising trusted, local goods and services in your community can not only assist your residents in making sound choices, but can work to ring in a little extra cash. Digital advertising is a wonderful avenue for this and takes seconds to implement.
TIP: Seniors don’t like advertising in their ‘home’. Any sponsored messaging must be informational in nature and not ‘sell, sell, sell’ driven.
8: Photos and Videos
Celebrating achievements and jogging memories through pictures and videos is a delightful way of keeping your residents active and involved in your community. But printing photos is virtually a thing of the past, not to mention time-consuming and wasteful. With today’s technology, the easiest way to display photos is to display them digitally, where they can be seen on the big screen in all their glory.
TIP: Use timing features when uploading your photos to begin with so the media is always up to date and never looks old and out-of-date.
Music can bring a sense of joy and relaxation to a community. It can also promote dancing! (Check out our video of residents dancing away at one of our partner communities. You might learn a move or two!) Play music from a radio station of your choice all day or only play it during certain times. It’s all up to you!
TIP: Try to find a Golden Oldies station or something to play that brings back memories of your residents’ youth.
Music is a safe kind of high. – Jimi Hendrix
So how many of these nine digital technologies do you see being of benefit to your community? If you want them all – I’ve got some bad news, and some good news. The bad news is, if you tried to find and purchase all of these digital solutions separately – it would not only be time-consuming, but it would be expensive. E-Learning Portals, maintenance management solutions, digital signage, website maintenance, software tools to create calendars – these are all wonderful additions to any assisted living community. However, they’re not integrated and each digital solution is a separate cost, both monetary and time-wise. Staff members need to be trained, and they need to put in a lot of work and effort to maintain each system.
Now for the good news. What if I told you that there is a solution out there that does all of these things for one low cost, training and support included? InTouchLink is a one-stop solution that has been built on years of client feedback and observations of the retirement industry. We know our clients and their needs, and we’ve created an all-encompassing product as the solution. No need to search any longer– visit our website to book a free demo today. You won’t regret it.
We also offer free technology assessments for your senior living community. Book a senior living technology assessment today and one of our senior living specialists will contact you within 2 hours to set up a customized session with you.