Author:InTouch

12 Jun 9 Assisted Living Technologies You Need In Your Senior Living Community

9 ASSISTED LIVING TECHNOLOGIES YOU NEED IN YOUR SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY

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Ceren @ ITL

1: Service Request and Ticketing System

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.

2: Messaging

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.

3: Learning Management System

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.

4: Digital Bulletin Board

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.

5: Printable Activity Calendars and Menus

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.

 

6: Resident and Family Portal

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.

7: Advertising

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.

9: Music

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 communityBook 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.

 

01 May How Activity Directors Are Engaging Residents During Social Distancing with In-Room TV Channels

How Activity Directors Are Engaging Residents During Social Distancing with In-Room TV Channels

May 4, 2020

In the age of social distancing, activity directors are finding new ways to keep residents engaged, informed and entertained from the safety of their rooms. With a healthy mix of creative concepts and easy to use solutions, feeling “connected” is definitely possible from a safe distance.

Activity Calendars and Menus

Imagine staying in a fancy hotel and seeing what services are available to you as the guest. Broadcasting activity schedules and dining menus will keep residents in the loop and well aware of what opportunities for entertainment and deliciousness await them.

Tip: Activity calendars should be easy to manage and tweak on the fly. Add some food item pictures to your menus to really encourage your residents’ appetites.

Religious Services/Guided Meditation

Residents may often thrive on consistency and broadcasting religious or meditative services will help them feel like things are normal in an otherwise unusual time. They will thank you for it.

Tip: Broadcast your own service or stream from larger online congregations right on the channel.

Concerts & Performances

Whether a classically composed symphony played by the New York Philharmonic or a 3 piece band you sourced yourself, music is and will always be a way to lift spirits and share a collective emotion. Broadcast it live in-room to your community and to any other sister communities across the country (more bang for your buck!)

Tip: After a performance, use the community channel to promote a rebroadcast and share the tunes with any residents that missed it the first time.

Live Community State of the Union addresses

When trying to maintain distancing, the lack of physical closeness to staff members can take a toll on a resident’s comfort level and feeling of connectedness with the community. Whether executive director, head of culinary, or activity director, using a live in-suite broadcast, any staff member can use the community channel to say “Hello!” to all residents, share important information including updates, and share new opportunities for engagement. It’s a great way to be close but not “too close”.

Exercise

Exercise is a great way to maintain physical abilities but is also important for mental health. Staying fit is important at every age! Many communities are offering virtual fitness classes as a way for their residents to stay active while learning a new discipline and all from the comfort and safety of their rooms. With a boost of serotonin after their class, residents will have a refreshed outlook and be ready for the next in-room activity.

Tip: Host your own exercise class, partner with a professional (on or off-site) or find some for free on YouTube and preschedule them to play on your in-suite channel.

Celebrate Birthdays and Anniversaries

For residents that opted in, pre-populate pictures and celebrations of their birthdays & anniversaries to show up on the channel. Let your residents know you remembered and want to celebrate them!

Guess Who? Resident + Staff Edition

Getting to know each other has often felt like a face-to-face affair. With your community’s in-room TV channel, you can play your own version of a family favorite game. A family that knows each other, feels together!

Tip: Get as many residents and staff members to provide interesting facts about themselves and provide them to you. Use your channel to show the details, then depict a photo of the person 15 – 45 seconds later. Another fun variant is a version of In-Suite Jeopardy™ or just plain Bar Trivia.

Funny & Uplifting Videos

A silly cat video, silly babies or an inspirational Ted Talk is easy to find, and pre-program to show up at just the right time to put a smile on your residents’ faces.

Tip: Use the community channel to set a schedule of various videos in advance. Hours of resident entertainment with less work and resources. Nice!

Bingo

A community staple is now playable in-room! Have the numbers come up, have residents use phones to yell it out! Easy, easy, easy!

Tip: Pre-program number calls or live stream based on your bandwidth.

Instructor-Led Crafts

Crafts have historically been a one-on-one affair but it can still be just as easy and fun in-suite. Pass out the materials to each resident and walk them through how to make something new to accompany them in their rooms.

Tip: Activity coordinators can live stream the crafting session, save it for later,  and rebroadcast it at a later date.

Virtual Vacation

Travel may not be an option at the moment but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your community on a virtual wine tour in the south of France or explore the Great Pyramids. Take them anywhere and everywhere from the comfort of their armchair.

Tip: Ask residents where they’d like to travel to and take them there through the magic of the community channel.

If you’re interested in getting your community going with in-room engagement, learn more here

Subscribe for industry news, product updates and InTouch promos

Improve communication between residents and senior living operators by using a technology system that is easy-to-use and efficient. At InTouchLink, we strive to make residents a priority and turn communication into a positive experience for everyone.

To learn more about our solution, View a Free Video, or call 1-877-784-6868 today.

 

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02 Mar 14 ways to avoid Coronavirus (COVID-19) in community senior living

14 Ways to Avoid Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Community Senior Living

March 3, 2020
Senior living communities are acutely aware of the dangers and difficulties of outbreaks. Every independent living, assisted living or skilled nursing facility has protocols in place to prevent the community-wide spread of contagions. The Coronavirus or COVID-19, to give it its technical name, presents unique challenges – in particular within the realm of senior living, as it affects an especially vulnerable population. We’ve compiled some useful suggestions to help prevent the coronavirus from infecting your community but also to help it from spreading within your facility if it does happen to make an appearance. 

Avoid initial infection:

1. Communicate with your families and guests

Make sure you talk to all of your guests before they come in to visit their loved ones. Have they visited one of the coronavirus hotspots (China, Korea, Iran and Italy at the time of writing)? Have they been exposed to anyone who has visited one of these places? If they have, for the safety of all your residents, ask them not to visit at this time. You can use technology to help them stay connected with their family without visiting in person. Tech tip: Use a family messaging platform to keep families up to date with all your precautions and coronavirus plans. Communicate with them by email and sms for quick and timely updates.

2. Use signage to warn families and visitors

Use signage at the entrance of your community to ensure that every guest walking in is fully aware of the precautions you’re taking – and the steps they need to take. Remind them that they shouldn’t be visiting if they’ve been to a hotspot or have been in contact with someone who might have been exposed. Tech tip: Take advantage of a digital signage system specifically built for senior living to quickly update messaging and have it broadcasted to multiple access points and entranceways at once.

3. Require hand sanitization and mask use

Provide hand sanitizers right near the front doors and require every guest walking into the building to stop for 30 seconds to use the sanitizer. Masks are typically only useful to stop someone from spreading the virus – so make the most of them for outside visitors. Tech tip: Use your community TV channel or lobby information TV to display warnings and best practice videos for anyone walking into your community. Here’s an example:

Avoid virus spread:

Senior living communities are unfortunately prone to the quick spread of contagious diseases and viruses. The World Health Organization recommends the following as ways to avoid the spread of the coronavirus:

4. Wash hands frequently

Image result for washing hnda Ensure all residents, staff, family and caregivers thoroughly and regularly clean hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Promote the use of paper towels or air dryers to dry hands so as not to spread germs via towels. Tech tip: Include a proper handwashing hygiene tutorial on your facility’s TV channel, such as this one:

5. Maintain social distancing

Maintain a distance of at least 3 feet between your residents and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. This avoids small droplets spraying on fellow residents when someone sneezes or coughs.

6. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Did you know that, according to an NIH study, an average person touches their face 23 times an hour? Our hands are primary transmitters of viruses and once contaminated, they can quickly transfer any contagion to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus easily enters the body.

7. Practice respiratory hygiene

Try to ensure that everyone covers their nose with a tissue or the inside of an elbow when coughing or sneezing. This helps avoid the spread of contaminated mucus or droplets. Tech tip: Place a video like this: on your Community TV Channel to remind everyone of best practices.

8. Seek early medical advice if any residents or staff develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing

Image result for sick elderly person Screen residents and staff daily and make sure any indication of fever, cough or difficulty breathing is assessed urgently to determine if medical isolation or other care is required.

9. Reduce activities to small groups

Consider reducing the size of your groups for activities, exercise and meals. This allows you to maintain greater space between each resident and staff member and ensure lower exposure if there are any infections. Tech tip: Use an in-house TV channel to broadcast activities directly into all your resident’s rooms. They won’t need to go to communal areas to enjoy a choir, magic show or inspirational lecture – they can enjoy it directly from their rooms.

10. Isolation

If an outbreak does unfortunately occur, isolation is the first crucial step. Ensure that those who are unwell are separated from those who are well. Make sure you follow the instructions of your medical advisors for any isolation protocols.

11. Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider

COVID-19 is a rapidly changing challenge. Global, national and local health advice can change by the day. Make sure to stay in regular contact with your medical providers to get constant updates as to current protocols and best practices. Tech tip: Try a dedicated communication platform to make sure your residents, staff and families are always kept up-to-date.

Some things you can do to prepare your community include:

12. Train staff properly

Make sure your staff are well trained before anything impacts your community. The most effective way to ensure your staff can deal with any challenges or outbreaks is to make sure they know exactly what to do in the event of an incident. You don’t want to be scrambling if something does end up happening. Tech tip: A senior living focused learning management system can help to ensure that all of your staff are trained correctly with appropriate tracking and reports.

13. Update your policies and procedures

Make sure your policies and procedures are updated to reflect the new risk of COVID-19 and the newly released medical recommendations. Tech tip: An online policy and procedure manual platform can help you share updates instantly with all of your staff.

14. Stock up on essentials

Use the time before any outbreak to stock up on supplies to ensure you are able to effectively limit an outbreak or the spread of disease. Preparing in advance also means you can still look after your residents if there is, in fact, an outbreak.

Stay informed and stay safe!

Subscribe for industry news, product updates and InTouch promos

Improve communication between residents and senior living operators by using a technology system that is easy-to-use and efficient. At InTouchLink, we strive to make residents a priority and turn communication into a positive experience for everyone.

To learn more about our solution, View a Free Video, or call 1-877-784-6868 today.

 

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17 Dec Bringing the Holiday Spirit to Senior Living Communities

To most of us, the holidays are a time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. Unfortunately, many of our residents in retirement homes or assisted living facilities can’t do this, due to health reasons, difficulty travelling, or not having family around. Here are some ways we can help our residents enjoy the holidays while maintaining the “family feel” in our communities.

Holiday Visits

During the holidays, some residents aren’t able to leave their home. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, sadness, and even depression, especially at a time traditionally centred around family and friends. Keep your community humming with holiday visitors in order to keep residents busy. Bringing in school groups to sing Christmas carols is a wonderful way to cheer up an entire facility. Welcome local church and religious groups into your senior living community to visit with residents and brighten their day. And of course, encourage families and friends to come and visit their loved ones, if possible.

Technology and the Holidays

If residents’ families are unable to visit in person, help them be in “virtual” contact with their loved ones. While face-to-face contact is ideal, helping residents set up a Skype or FaceTime chat with a loved one is the next best thing. As more tech-savvy baby boomers enter senior living environments, they will expect facilities and staff to be up to speed in facilitating online connection. A virtual visit can go a long way in alleviating feelings of loneliness if a resident is without holiday visitors.

Senior Volunteers

Bringing in older or retired volunteers is a terrific way to help residents enjoy their holidays. With their life experience, many of these older volunteers may relate to residents more easily than a younger volunteer. Also, many seniors living on their own may not have family or friends to spend time with them. Welcoming older volunteers into your facility to offer holiday friendship and companionship to residents can bring a sense of purpose to older volunteers.

Maintaining a Culture of Courtesy

We all know how busy and frantic the holiday season can be. But this time of year is a great opportunity to remind both staff and residents of the roles they have in making senior living centres vibrant communities. One senior living facility calls this a Culture of Courtesy and emphasizes the importance of treating everyone with dignity and respect. Maintaining this culture during the busy holiday season can end the year on a high note. It can also act as a springboard into a positive year ahead. Above all, the holidays are about making meaningful connections between people. InTouchLink is an easy-to-use system keeping senior community residents, their families, and staff connected throughout the holidays and year-round. Contact us today at 1-877-784-6868 and see how InTouchLink can bring your senior living community closer together.

Stay informed

 
 

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22 Aug How to Make the Transition to Assisted Living Easier

For a significant portion of their lives, most people are in control of their faculties, exercise independence, and do what they want when they feel like it. When this is no longer the case, it can be quite unsettling. As humans age, they may remain young in their minds and are disheartened when their bodies can no longer keep up as well as they did before. When it’s time for a family member to change their lifestyle to assisted living, it can be a difficult decision for them and their loved ones to make. However, there are ways to make the transition easier on everyone.

Let New Residents Be Themselves

Before moving into an assisted living facility, speak with the family members about their relative’s habits to ensure a seamless transition. New residents may stay up longer than the others or they may be used to taking an evening constitutional after dinner. It’s good for staff to be aware of these habits.

Dealing with Doubts

When family members move their relative into an assisted living community and their relative is not happy about it, they may experience doubts. They worry that they made the decision too quickly or they feel guilt. These emotions and thoughts are normal at the beginning, and it’s best to remind them of the reasons they thought their relative needed to make the change in the first place. Allay their worries by telling them to think back to when they started at a new school or job; they had to give themselves time to adjust and this situation is no different.

Acknowledge Fears Without Placating Every Discomfort

Moving to an assisted living community will bring up some fears and concerns that new residents may or may not talk about. When you notice this, it’s important not to ignore them by focusing on only the positive aspects of their new living situation. Instead, help them find solutions to ease their worrying and discuss the issues with their family if appropriate.

If new residents have a mental illness or express complaints, such as wanting to go home, they may not be implying a physical location. They may be craving an emotion that is associated with their home. In this case, it’s important to listen to and discuss their concerns. You may not be able to change anything, but letting them express their feelings is sometimes all they need.

Remember that new residents and their family will experience setbacks. As painful as they may be, reassure them that setbacks are normal and they will eventually pass.

Balance the Old with the New

It’s nice moving to a new location and meeting new friends, but that doesn’t mean new residents will want new decor. New residents may need to downsize, but remind family members to include some familiar pieces of furniture in their relative’s new home. Their relative will—almost certainly—want their familiar personal belongings, such as photos and paintings, books, bedding, and heirlooms. Although their family may not think some of these items are needed, tell them these items are part of their relative’s identity and are also associated to “home”, the physical location as well as the feeling.

Other Ways to Facilitate the Transition

Assisted living communities value effective communication so they implement InTouchLink software to keep residents up-to-date on community news and ensure they’re engaged and enjoying their lives. It’s a great way to help them feel like they’re a part of the community. The LiveCam feature allows everyone, even room-bound residents, to participate in activities and provides an easy way for staff to make general announcements and share pictures, videos and more. Book a demonstration today or contact us for more information!

20 Jul How to Improve Occupancy in Senior Living Using Technology

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Modern-day senior living communities emerged in North America as part of a paradigm shift during the early 1980s that called for a more consumer-centered care philosophy. Fortunately, this remains the prevailing philosophy present in the senior living industry today and one can assume that the primary goal of a senior living community is to help its residents live a well-rounded and happy life as they age. But a senior living community is also a business, and in order to keep your residents happy, you need to reach your maximum occupancy level. This will ultimately contribute to your bottom line, and allow you to continue improving your customer care and service levels, thereby promoting a healthy cycle of growth.

Growing your occupancy level can be a complex matter, affected by many variables, some external and out of your control, such as geography, government policies, economic states, demographics, and competing companies. Luckily, there are also many variables that are in your control, and those will be the ones discussed in this article. Boosting your occupancy rates can be whittled down to a few key elements: marketing, engagement, and at the core, the satisfaction levels of all stakeholders involved, including staff, family members and last but certainly not least, your residents. All of these elements can be positively influenced by technological innovations designed to do just that. Improve marketing, promote engagement, and increase resident, family member, and employee satisfaction. Growth in these three areas can directly increase your occupancy rates and contribute to your bottom line. Now let’s dive in and boost those occupancy rates!

Take Full Advantage of Your Online Platform

In today’s day and age, if you don’t have a strong online presence as a business, you’re missing out on a ton of growth potential. Building a beautiful online website is now so incredibly simple, there aren’t any excuses left to not have a user-friendly and visually stunning website for your senior living community. Take advantage of sites such as Wix or SquareSpace for easy and beautiful website creation.

Already have a website? Perfect. Ensure that your community also has a strong presence on a range of social media channels. When prospective clients search for you online, they’ll be able to view your website as well as your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and more. They’ll see and know more about how wonderful your community is, and you’ll have an edge over your competition, and bring in more prospects for tours.

Encourage your current clients to tune in to your social media pages, and soon you’ll have a buzz surrounding your community. Their reviews, likes and comments will be seen by others, spreading a positive message and thereby positive associations with the name of your community. Keeping family members updated on all of the fun events going on at your community will also confirm to them that they made the right choice in choosing your senior living community over others. Involving the rest of the town, young and old, in your special events, and introducing contests and raffles, will also encourage others to visit, and maintain a positive brand and message.

Have Family Members Involved As Much as Possible

On the topic of family member and community involvement, in addition to your online social media presence, giving your families a private portal to access community information is invaluable. Have an online portal where family members, residents and even prospects (perhaps temporarily) can access recent photos, upcoming special events, menu, activities, download your monthly newsletter, and more. It’s best when this portal allows for communication directly with your community, and is accessible from anywhere on any device with an internet connection.

An integrated service request system can be incredibly useful if, for example, a family member wants to come in for a dinner with their grandmother. They can log in to your custom online portal, take a look at the menu, and request a table in minutes and that request goes to the email address of whomever you choose at your community. Neat, right? Family members love these kinds of features, and so do residents and prospects.

Keeping the community up-to-date is essential. You can plan the most beautiful event, but if no one knows about it, it won’t matter. Keep your community informed and happy, and they’ll not only continue to happily live there, they’ll also spread the word about how wonderful you are – the best kind of (free!) marketing available.

Keep Your Residents Engaged and Happy through Wellness Initiatives and Digital Communication

Have you ever heard the saying, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold”? This is not just a quote – it’s actually a proven fact. It costs seven times more to obtain a new customer than to keep an existing one. Moral of the story: Keep your residents happy! They are your bread and butter.

Many variables exist in the complex concept of resident satisfaction, but there are also factors proven to improve it. An informed resident is a happy resident. If you have posters up for your activities – or a monthly/daily activity calendar – and an activity is cancelled, how soon are your residents informed? Do they have to make the trek to the location of the event only to make another trek to your reception desk to ask for a status update? This is a common issue that plagues communities relying on analog paper-and-pen communication systems.

Introducing a digital signage platform in your community will ensure that residents are kept up-to-date in seconds, not hours. Information is beautifully displayed on large-screen high-definition TV screens in common areas, changes can be made in real-time, and your custom community “channel” can even be accessed from the comfort of a resident’s suite, where they can turn on their TV, turn to a designated channel, and immediately gain access to community information. There’s no running around, time-wasting, printing, or stress involved! Senior living utopia.

For residents that are more tech-savvy (a growing trend in the industry – click here to read the full NY Times article), you can even offer something of more value, such as iPads or inexpensive tablets that you can make available for your residents to borrow. They’ll be able to access community information at any time, right from the tablet, and even input service requests through a resident portal, saving their time and your staff’s time. A resident portal can also include other fun features such as brain games, videos, music, an easy-to-use email system, personal calendar and more.

It’s also been proven that prioritizing the wellness of your residents is positively correlated with increased resident satisfaction rates. Giving your residents access to activity videos, exercise clips, trivia, brain games and more through a digital platform will make it easier for them to keep their minds and bodies active and content.

Other types of tools, such as an electronic health record platform, will also improve resident satisfaction rates by allowing staff to easily document and monitor resident conditions, and adjust their care plan accordingly, before any conditions worsen. Being proactive is always better than being reactive.

Impress Your Prospects with a Hotel-Style Feel

Nine times out of ten, you won’t be the only retirement community that a prospect is visiting. But if they did choose you as an option to visit in-person, seize the moment to really wow them on a tour of your community. It’s important to incentivize prospects with the standard favours – a free brunch or dinner, a small “thank you for dropping by” gift, and a booklet of your services. But it’s even more important to go a few steps further ahead of the competition.

  • Place large-screen high-definition digital signage screens in your common high-traffic areas that display vital information and engage prospects. For example, these screens can display items like your daily activities, community menus, photos from your latest outing, a fun fact of the day and more. Prospects will see all of the fun things that happen at the community (as well as your delicious menu!) which will entice them to stay.
  • Have jazzy “elevator music” or golden oldies playing from the in-suite TVs and common area TVs on your community tour. It’s a small enhancement that can make a profound impact on a prospect’s mood and consequently their impression of the living space, even if it’s only subconscious.
  • If you want to etch a lasting impression on your prospects, have an interactive touchscreen set up in the lobby of your community that allows for:
    • Access to important information – i.e. menus, activities, event schedule
    • Feedback portal
    • Contact Us section
    • Service Request System
  • Ensure that your prospects have an easy way to keep in touch and view what’s happening at the community, even after they’ve left. A temporary prospect account to access your community portal is a great way to keep prospects engaged, without extra work on your part.

Many communities are hesitant to implement large changes to their daily routines – and we completely understand. Almost all new systems come with a learning curve – no matter how small, and this can take time to adjust to, not just for staff, but for residents who are accustomed to a particular way of doing things. But don’t ever let that deter you from introducing new innovative products and services into your community. The end result of a full and engaged community will always be worth the small hurdles at the beginning, which will soon enough be forgotten with the joys of a happier community.

At InTouchLink, we specialize in an all-in-one digital platform that has been designed and tweaked over the years to best service the senior living industry. We want our senior living partner communities to be as happy, engaged and full as possible. We’re not just programmers, or support representatives; we’re consultants with years of experience on best practices. If you work with us, your community will even have its own designated account manager to hold your hand along the way – at no cost. Book a Demo with us today and see live in action how we can improve your operations, engage you residents, and boost your occupancy.

 

 

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06 Jul Ideas for Activities Your Retirement Community Residents Will Love

Retirement facilities have increasingly acknowledged the importance of keeping seniors socially active. Not only does it remind them that they are part of a supportive community, but it also has benefits for their health. Studies have shown that staying socially active reduces the risk of mental issues related to depression and cognitive function, in addition to cultivating a stable support system in times of need.

By hosting activities in your retirement community, you give your residents the opportunity to socialize and have fun with other community members.

Games Night

Who said only children can enjoy game night? With new residents joining your retirement community every week, games night is a great way to introduce them in a comfortable setting. Because there’s a predetermined activity, there’s little risk for an awkward conversation or encounter. Popular games include bingo, bridge, chess, and scrabble. To get people motivated, consider offering prizes to the winners. If you’re working with a tight budget, one way to get around this is by asking every participant to bring a small gift as their admission. This way there are multiple winners at the end of the game.

Art Activities

Arts and crafts activities are a great way to get retirement community members to express their creativity. With so many diverse backgrounds, it’s also an opportunity for members to share their knowledge. Many communities will offer group quilting classes, paint nights, or water painting lessons. Consider extending these classes to outside of the community as a way for retirees to share their knowledge with the next generation. In doing so, friendships will be formed and all parties will feel a deeper sense of community. You can also invite seniors from the neighborhood to give them a soft introduction to your community and raise your marketing profile and census.

Exercise Classes

Staying fit is important at every age! Many retirement communities are offering fitness classes as a way for their residents to stay active while learning a new discipline. Exercise is a great way to maintain physical abilities, but is also important for mental health. With a boost of serotonin after their class, residents will have a refreshed outlook and be ready for a relaxing game night.

Music Shows

Everyone loves to watch talented musicians show off their best work. Organize a retirement community choir or bring in some music teachers to get residents to try an instrument they’ve never played before. For the less adventurous, many retirement communities have local school choirs come in to perform. This is also a great way for seniors to interact with some young, local talent.

At InTouchLink, we’re committed to providing senior living software that improves communication in your retirement community and increases resident participation in your events and activities. To learn more about our groundbreaking technology or to book a free demonstration, call 1-877-784-6868.

30 Jun How to Improve the Environment in Assisted Living and Retirement Communities

Present-day assisted living and retirement communities have come a long way, with increased community integration and an emphasis on maintaining independence for residents. The physical environment of a retirement facility must be carefully designed to maximize functionality in terms of daily activities, personal independence, and opportunities for privacy and social interaction. An appropriately designed space will cultivate an atmosphere that puts its residents in a positive mindset to enjoy their new surroundings.

Involve the Community

Keeping seniors actively involved in the community reminds them of their own independence and lets them share their amazing stories with more people than just their friends and families. By setting up a community involvement program, neighbourhood residents will get to know each other and forge meaningful friendships. A common way to do this is by introducing a volunteer program with a local school. Students will learn valuable lessons and gain insightful stories from the retirement community residents while sharing a laugh and spending some quality time.

Another way to involve the local community and integrate retirement community residents is by hosting events that both can take part in. Set up a community garden in the spring or an art activity on a cold, winter day. In doing so, you create a reason for the community to come together and interact.

Educate Your Staff

Continuous education is important in every field, but especially in an interaction-based job. Giving your employees the tools they need will cause less stress and result in a calmer working environment. Although you may initially view employee training as a costly investment, it’s definitely worthwhile in the long run. Retirement community staff interacts with many residents and their families within a day, making their communication and listening skills extremely important. An educated employee in the care field will be able to capitalize on every interaction, leaving residents reassured that they are in the best possible hands.

Introduce Plants

Although you may view plants as a great decor item, you might be surprised to learn that they also present numerous health benefits. Plants are proven to increase feelings of well-being and put people in a better mood. They are especially important in winter months when residents aren’t able to get outside, as they make people feel like they are more in touch with nature.

Other benefits of plants include:

  • Reduced carbon dioxide levels
  • Decreased airborne dust
  • Minimized temperature fluctuations
  • Managed noise levels

Plants are also a great way to decorate your retirement community. They are fairly neutral and don’t overstimulate residents that are sensitive to intense colours and patterns.

Get Feedback

If you’re looking to improve the atmosphere of your retirement home, a great way to start is by asking the residents about the changes they want to see. There are many ways to do this, but as a first step, it’s usually best to just go around and ask residents in person. This way you get a feel for what everyone’s thinking and can start planning options that they can choose from at a later date. Providing concrete options is usually the best way for all parties to visualize the changes.

At InTouchLink, we’re dedicated to providing you with superior assisted living and retirement community integrative technology. To learn more about what we offer, call 1-877-784-6868 and request a free demonstration.

29 May INTOUCHLINK ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF NEW InTouchRx

InTouchLink Pharmacy Portal Screens

For Immediate Release

May 29, 2018

Media Contact Info

Ceren Efe
info@intouchlink.net
Phone: 1877-784-6868 x735
Fax: 1877-784-6868

– Toronto –

InTouchLink is pleased to announce the launch of its newest division to provide an innovative pharmacy portal and pharmacy-community data bridge to long term care pharmacies in the USA and Canada. The new division will be branded as InTouchRx (intouchrx.com) and will focus specifically on working with pharmacies to improve their engagement with senior living communities, increase their transparency and provide a consolidated collection of all pharmacy-community data.

Already implemented in several pharmacies and communities, the InTouchRx portal provides a centralized dashboard for:

The first complete platform of its kind, InTouchRx is ground-breaking in its approach to the relationship between senior living pharmacies and their community clients. Digitizing all of the data collection and analytics (that are often transmitted by phone or fax) means community and pharmacy staff know instantly if errors have been made, if audits uncover issues, and if improvements need to be implemented. The primary goal of InTouchRx is to improve resident health, create compliance transparency and provide a unified resource for all pharmacy-community engagement.

“For the first time, there’s a product that specifically focuses on the relationship between pharmacies and senior living communities and the requirement for so much data to flow efficiently between the two teams. It’s exciting to be able to provide a ready-made but customisable solution that can impact so many healthcare organisations in the USA and Canada.” says Jonathan Seliger, CEO of InTouchLink.

About InTouchRx

InTouchRx provides an easy-to-use and quick-to-implement platform to long term care pharmacies that is the data bridge for all communication between pharmacy and senior living communities.

Visit intouchrx.com for more information.

About InTouchLink

InTouchLink, North America’s leading provider of technology for Seniors Housing Communities provides a suite of custom-designed senior-friendly products. These have been tailor-made for retirement communities, long-term care homes, skilled nursing facilities and other senior living environments. InTouchLink’s product line for seniors communities includes digital signage with dedicated community TV channels, an online learning centre for staff, service request system, family member portal, and software tailored to seniors such as simple email and safe internet.

Visit www.intouchlink.com for more information.

InTouchRX Pharmacy Portal

25 May How You Will Benefit from Living in a Retirement Community

In recent years, the senior living industry has undergone a branding transition with an increased focus on community and lifestyle. According to Statistics Canada, 29.6% of seniors aged 85 or higher are living in a special care facility, and this number is steadily rising. Many seniors, however, dread moving to a retirement facility, but they are slowly discovering how they will benefit from making the move at a seasoned age.

Social Connections

Retirement communities enhance the social life of seniors through various activities, such as exercise classes, hobby clubs, and other organized activities. This strengthened human interaction is linked to increased mental stimulation, which is essential to emotional and physical wellness. Increased socialization is also associated with better cognitive function and can prevent early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Loneliness is a common problem among seniors and can lead to feelings of depression. By connecting them to like-minded individuals with common interests and passions, they are more likely to build relationships that will boost their mood and increase their sense of belonging.

Safety & Nutrition

Nutritional needs change over time, especially with the onset of health conditions that may require dietary adjustments. Eating well is essential to maintaining good health at any age, but many seniors aren’t getting the nutrition they need.  By having meals prepared at a retirement community, seniors will experience the health benefits of having three meals a day that are modified to meet their unique needs. Safety is also enhanced, with security personnel and cameras installed at most retirement communities to keep residents at ease. This is important as many seniors are concerned about falling victim to crime or experiencing accidents.

Reduced Responsibility

When living independently, there is a constant worry of home maintenance and costly repairs. These anxieties are relieved by living in a retirement community in which interior and exterior home responsibilities are reduced on both the part of the individual and the family.  Retirees can take part in hobbies they are passionate about and enjoy their retirement. This increase in spare time allows seniors to do the things they always put off while working, such as learning a new language, traveling, or taking music lessons.

Increased Mobility

Mobility becomes a greater issue with age, especially with harsh winter conditions that are notorious for causing slips and falls. In a retirement community, residents benefit from having easy access to services that would prevent these types of concerns. Many retirement communities are in close proximity to grocery stores and shopping centres, with many also offering on-site medical facilities. In the event that the retirement community is further away from stores, organized transportation is often offered. Residents don’t need to worry about having to drive in harsh conditions or rely on family and friends for transportation.

Improved Family Relationships

Retirement communities also serve to improve relationships with family and friends. Over time, there is a natural role reversal between parent and child that sometimes leads to strained ties. This strain is reduced when seniors enter retirement homes as younger family members no longer serve the caregiver role, allowing them to enjoy their time spent together. Many retirement communities also plan activities and events that the whole family can enjoy. In making seniors more independent, less time is spent trying to solve problems, and more is spent on quality family time.

Improve communication between residents and senior living operators by using a technology system that is easy-to-use and efficient. At InTouchLink, we strive to make residents a priority and turn communication into a positive experience for everyone. To learn more about our technology, book a free demo, or call 1-877-784-6868 today.