Assisted Living

06 Nov InTouchLink Launches aTouchAway Video Calling+ NOV 6 2020

LAUNCH PRESS RELEASE

RELEASE DATE:
November 6, 2020

INTOUCHLINK AND AETONIX PARTNER TO BRING HIPAA COMPLIANT SENIOR LIVING FOCUSED VIDEO CALLING TO NORTH AMERICA

LAKEWOOD, NJ & TORONTO, ON – INTOUCHLINK, LP through a partnership with AETONIX (OTTAWA, ON) is excited to announce the senior living launch of aTouchAway, a HIPAA Compliant Video Calling Solution that further expands upon InTouchLink’s award-winning hospitality and engagement-based SaaS solution eco-system for independent, skilled nursing and assisted living communities.

InTouchLink believes aTouchAway will enable a critical solution that provides families, and senior living operators the opportunity to keep residents feeling connected, engaged and happy in an isolated post-COVID-19 world. The technology is unique because users don’t need to log in, download links or remember passwords and with easy one-touch calling, seniors and adult children can easily get in touch without any technical aptitude.

“As both the communities we serve and members of our own team have had the pandemic hit close to home, the need for both staff and residents to stay connected with loved ones who can’t visit in person becomes ever more important. There has never been a better time for aTouchAway to help bring smiles back to residents’ faces.”

Jonathan Seliger
CEO
InTouchLink

Since 2007, InTouchLink’s award-winning platform has been bolstering productivity and improving the lives of senior living operators and their communities’ residents and family. All features in the system were developed based on resident, family and operator feedback and as a result, the platform addresses more specific seniors-housing needs than any other option available today.

The InTouchLink system has been custom developed to best serve our unique sector and was built on the premise that everyone deserves to be connected. We have a team of senior-living veterans and technology gurus to ensure we can effectively deliver this promise to everyone residing in a senior living community. InTouchLink is a powerful and incredibly easy-to-use system.

For media inquiries, please contact Justin Godderis at 877-784-6868 ext.710 or jgodderis@intouchlink.net

Aetonix

At Aetonix (https://aetonix.com), we recognize the enormous strain on all levels of healthcare systems. By developing easy-to-use telehealth platforms, our solutions focus on what really matters – effective and efficient care. Aetonix was founded in February 2014 with a mission to address the increasing demands for caregiving solutions for home caregivers and for those in group facility settings, regardless of geographical distance between caregiver and the cared for.

The aTouchAway™ solution is an innovative software platform built to manage the care of chronic and complex patients. It is the only home health platform that offers secure video and text communications, a robust workflow engine, integrated care plan management, and comprehensive reporting dashboards – all in a secure digital platform.

For media inquiries, please contact Rob Lane at rob.lane@aetonix.com

02 Nov How new technologies are improving resident engagement in retirement communities with in-suite programs & communications

How new technologies are improving resident engagement in retirement communities with
in-suite programs & communications

Leo Rubini – 11.3.2020

The reality of the current landscape has meant a disruption to the status quo and how we go about our lives. Leadership teams within retirement communities are looking for ways to future proof and improve communications within a newly emerging world of social distance practices. Here are some of the top 5 technological trends and tools that Program Directors, Innovation, and Life Enrichment teams are utilizing to drive communications & resident engagement.

1. In-suite TV channel

In support of safer living environments, many Activity Director’s are requesting all community news, (and increasingly even activities such as in-suite BINGO, LIVE performances, or chapel service, pre-recorded events, youtube streams, etc) be delivered directly into the resident suites. At times when social distancing practices may be required, these initiatives are driving significantly higher levels of resident engagement as noted on resident satisfaction surveys- (an average of 52%)

2. INSTANT messages pushed to lobbies and resident suites by smartphone.

Rather than updating old fashioned bulletin boards at multiple locations /floors and run the risk of transmission with printed materials, admin teams are able to simply push instant color-coded messaging to lobby TVs, common room areas such as dining rooms, or more importantly directly to a dedicated in-suite channel-from any device.

3. Technology that addresses the resident need state.

It’s been a challenge for many within life enrichment to navigate the current pandemic while maintaining high or even adequate levels of resident engagement. One of the most significant technological shifts we have seen in retirement communities in the last 6 months has been observed through case studies that demonstrate the importance of using technology to cater to the resident’s well being. This is done partially by paying particular attention to the types of content that can best resonate against a resident need state (physical, mental, and spiritual). Innovation teams are looking for creative ways and thought leadership on how how to best manage one or multiple locations with customized activity programs and initiatives that can be programmed directly into the resident suites at specific times of the day and that cater to all needs.

4. Tools need to be robust, easy to use, and cloud-based

With the landscape shifting rapidly, admin teams are increasingly seeking solutions that can simplify tasks and allow for organic and ad hoc changes. Management teams cannot afford to have time wasted which is why instant content updates have become so critical. Automation tools that manage calendars & menus, communications, brand assets, events, and all community news have now become essential components of the modern retirement landscape. Teams need to be able to do more with less bandwidth and keep the resident experience at the forefront of these initiatives.

5. Focus on hospitality & overall community engagement has become a real thing

What appeared to be an afterthought 20 years ago, most designers, architects, and innovation teams today are looking towards the future needs of retirement communities by exploring new ways of delivering higher levels of hospitality engagement with technology that enhances the resident and guest experience. Whether you are listening to jazz music in the lounge or atrium or relaxing to calming naturescape videos or art photo galleries in the library, these details actually make a difference. We all know the feeling we get when immersed in well-designed hotel spaces such a lobby/library/lounge areas. These spaces can make us feel cozy and make us want to stay there and hang out a while. These intangibles are exactly the details that should not be overlooked. We are seeing an increased emphasis on hospitality engagement as CEOs, leadership, and innovation teams are recognizing the simple reality that if people like the look and feel of a community when on a community tour, they will start to envision this as their home.

If you could use help or had any questions related to some of the top industry tools that are driving higher levels of community & hospitality engagement, simply reach out to us! We’d be happy to share the latest case studies and trends that are making a massive difference.

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08 Oct 17 Best Enterprise Solutions for Senior Living Operators

17
Best enterprise solutions for senior living operators

By JG – 10.8.2020

Every senior living community operator struggles with the same day-to-day complexities. In order for site-level stakeholders and executives to get on board with certain initiatives, the organization must create a well crafted, compelling, and an easy to adopt strategy that covers all these bases: marketing/corporate brand consistency, uniform family/resident engagement, a consistent look and feel across properties, corporate oversight, remote corporate menu and calendar management, promoting active lifestyles and differentiators, etc.

At this stage, all of these initiatives sound like a lot of work, with multiple technical systems being utilized, and at a high expense. While that may have been true in years past, modern-day tools can assist your organization with all of these corporate initiatives at a low cost and with a compellingly high ROI.

Here are 17 of the best enterprise solutions for senior living operators.

1. Multi-site Activity Calendar Management Software

Activity program diversity supports dimensions of wellness. Finding the balance between a calendar that’s easy to manage from HQ and yet is aesthetically pleasing, is attainable. You should look for a solution that can use one remote login to access and monitor calendars across multiple communities. The ability to create and manage corporate templates, branding, and content, supports brand consistency and strategic marketing initiatives (akin to that consistent “feel” you get when you walk into a Starbucks.) In addition to instant calendar creation with category and dimensions of wellness tagging, look for a tool that will save hours of work vs. the old MS Publisher, Excel or Word calendar designs. Yes, community calendars can be gorgeous and easy to manage, while having the ability to update remotely, export, print, and even display on screens across the residence.

2. Corporate Menu Management Software

Forget about the time-killing days of copy-pasting menu items for each and every community under your banner. Instead, save hours of design and printing time by using an automatic menu management platform. Quickly manage menus from any device and from anywhere – in or out of the community. Your chosen solution should be able to maintain a bank of food items, issue a corporate menu to all your communities, and allow onsite-based culinary staff to make changes as necessary – substantially speeding up the menu management process. Maintain your corporate menu consistency across locations and with access to info through print, Amazon Alexa, web, and TVs.

3. Service Request + Suggestion Box + RSVP Management

As a corporation, you’re looking for ways to better streamline and manage requests coming from residents and their families. Reporting on the volume of requests and the speed of resolution across multiple properties doesn’t have to be a manual process anymore. For better organization and faster actioning, consider implementing an on-line Service Request Manager (SRM) that allows residents and family to submit requests and place reservations in one place.

Allow them to easily submit items like repair requests (broken lightbulb, clogged drain,etc.), general suggestions (new menu items, activity types, etc.) and reservations (dinner, a seat on a trip or a spot at an activity, etc.) Enabling your staff to collect, track, and report on all requests in one central system (any device, anywhere, anytime), makes for easy audits and saves countless hours (think fewer calls to the front desk). Still, the front desk can still log phone calls, emails, in-person or written requests –  integrate with an existing maintenance/work order program like Direct Supply TELS for added productivity. Allowing residents and families to seamlessly correspond directly with your community, have it automatically go to the right department (IT, Maintenance, Culinary,etc.), and get automatic updates when a ticket status changes, really adds to the quality of their community experience and sets your homes apart from the rest.

4. Family & Resident Portal

While phone calls, mailed calendars, and email have been tried and true tools for communities to engage families and residents, it can often take many administrative hours while also varying in quality of execution from site to site. Enterprise control of communication that encourages proactive engagement is much more easily accomplished through a centralized portal. Families and residents are directed to sign up and connect directly with your community (your corporate messaging and branding is consistent throughout the experience). In addition, the portal can be accessed from any device and from anywhere in the world. Families can send requests directly to departments within your community if they have maintenance, dietary, administrative, or other requests. Best of all, share your newsletters, important updates, community photos, calendars, and menus.It’s great marketing, communication, and engagement in one tool!

5. Custom Community TV Channel

From head office, having visibility into how each community is marketing itself, messaging to prospects, residents, and families, while also ensuring the optimal diversity of activities and menu items, is much easier said than done. Here is where the Community TV Channel comes in! Keep residents more informed around the building and encourage happy feelings. Transparency and communication require less work and effort than ever before.  Broadcasting live weather and national, local, and community news allows residents to feel connected without the necessity of having to print these items on a daily basis. Pre-program videos to play on your channel including those from YouTube or from a designated educational video library. Quickly update information throughout the building without running to every notice board and to every floor. Free up your front desk staff time so they can help residents directly instead of answering repetitive questions that can now be addressed by your community TVs. Photo galleries showcase the vibrancy of activities and events within your community, while menus keep residents excited about what’s available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (use your administrator view to remotely see if the community is adhering to corporate menu guidelines). Don’t forget to highlight staff members (new or existing) on your channel – promote resident and staff connection on a regular basis.

6. In-suite Community TV Channel

Maintaining consistent messaging, providing diverse and informative live or pre-recorded video content to one or multiple communities is within your control. Investing in an in-suite community channel comes with a multitude of benefits for your organization. The same great content that residents see on your communal TVs is readily available for them from the comfort of their room. Rotating menus, activity calendars, weather, and news are live! Residents with mobility issues can get the same great content that everyone else gets. Announcements like a bus leaving, the elevator being serviced, or an outbreak notification can be communicated in real-time. Programming leadership will love the versatility of a solution that can work with existing cable line infrastructure in communities. The last thing you need is to install a piece of equipment in each suite. Reducing the feeling of isolation and driving a real sense of “community” can systematically be supported with your organization’s own custom in-suite TV channel.

7. Community Event + YouTube Live Video Streaming

There is one multi-layered question that continues to grow in importance among senior living operators: how do I stretch my activities budget, communicate quickly, entertain, and inform residents effectively at multiple communities and with less effort? The answer is live streaming video across your communities. Whether it’s a musical act, religious service, or any other activity (think virtual bingo, cooking classes, bar trivia, birthday celebrations,etc.), all residents can participate. Promote the liveliness of your community by broadcasting live events on community screens. Even if bed-ridden, a resident can see the live community event from the comfort of their suite. You can hire one exercise instructor and live broadcast across multiple communities at once. Since a modern video streaming solution should automatically record and save a video to your corporate database, you should be able to easily schedule and rebroadcast the event at a later date, especially if residents missed it the first time (think big savings and ROI). As a Regional Manager, you can broadcast a weekly live state of the union address to multiple communities at once or you can delegate it to site-level staff. The possibilities for information sharing have never been richer and easier for operators. With a Live Video Streaming solution, your corporation makes sure everyone gets a front-row seat to the show.

8. Community Web Marketing TV Channel

Mailchimp, Constant Contact, aPlaceforMom and now…a Web Marketing TV Channel? Oh, yes! As an organization with many communities located in various regions, staying one step ahead of the competition when it comes to brand promotion and recognition is top of mind. Investing in a web marketing TV channel will help your communities:
  • Market your community and promote brand awareness to prospective families
  • Encourage prospects to book a tour based on their web experience
  • Increase move-ins and grow your web search rankings while marketing tailored, consistent, and enticing promotions
  • Showcase the vibrancy of events, activity calendars, and menus within your community
  • Focus on family engagement in real-time on your community website
For quicker launches, look to invest in a web channel that can reuse content from your existing calendars and menus.

9. Amazon Alexa

Differentiating your communities from “the other ones down the street” can be done in as little as an investment in a solution that speaks to any Amazon Alexa-Enabled Device. Wow prospects on your tour by telling them to “just ask Alexa” for community info. Activities, events, and menus are just a question away from any Amazon Alexa-Enabled Device in your community. Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are available for all – no more guessing. An up-to-date listing of daily activities encourages resident engagement and promotes inclusiveness and involvement of residents with mobility or visual impairment. Alexa devices can even control in-suite thermostats and turn on a TV and tune it to your community’s in-suite TV channel. Welcome to the future of senior living!

10. Community Message Broadcasting (CMB) System

Need to send a message across a community for residents and/or staff members? What about if you need to communicate it to families? Someone has to call, another person has to send emails, another has to get on the PA System, and yet another needs to make print-outs and update bulletin boards. Multiply that effort by the number of floors/wings the community has and the number of systems you need to use to execute. What about if you need to get a message out to multiple communities? That is a lot of resourcing in what can become a mess to strategically coordinate. Enter all-in-one Community Message Broadcasting (CMB) systems! With one place to send instant alerts or pre-scheduled updates to residents, families, and staff, you’ll never save more time and know that people have received “the message”. Quickly send emergency alerts for infectious outbreaks or weather warnings or even fire drill reminders. With a CMB, keep everyone in the loop via email, SMS, text to voice, app, and TV screens across communities.

11. Digital Community Directory

Finding friends, discovering similarities, and learning about each other is nice when it’s organic. In a senior living residence, fostering a “community vibe” is easier with the inclusion of a digital community directory. Look for a solution that allows for the simple upload of resident and/or staff directories. Residents who’ve opted in can find out who else shares similar interests. They can also easily identify staff members by their picture – a definite help with memory care patients. In addition, staff can quickly refresh themselves on the interests of their residents which helps foster stronger bonds and improve resident care.

12. Activity Tracker

An active resident is a happy resident. An enterprise-level Activity Tracker will allow you to: Easily check-in and register residents for community activities – promoting engagement!
  • Generate reports by specific activities, categories, or by resident
  • Promote inclusiveness and ensure residents are getting the proper mix of mental and physical stimulation
  • Sync with your existing activity calendar management platform
  • Identify the most popular activities – allowing activity directors to make the most efficient use of their time
  • ROI reporting, which allows the organization to evaluate attendance/success of activities/events across communities and make strategic allocation or additional budgetary investments
Look for a solution that allows your staff to easily export reports graphically across properties, so they can be shared with adult children and other family members.

13. Meal Tracker

Consistent eating is a cornerstone of senior health. Effective real-time tracking of resident eating habits supports wellness, and in many jurisdictions tracking meals is the law. Look to invest in a web-based meal tracker that can work with your existing menu management solution. How often a resident eats, the meal-type, time of day, and location should be among the reportable data points. Quickly pull reports in real-time, or expect automated reports to save hours of manual tracking time. Ready reports mean there’s no longer a need to chase staff for information. Imagine viewing adherence of all your communities at a glance, and then being able to drill down to a single resident when needed.

14. Newsletter & Flyers

Maintaining a high-level of professionalism and brand consistency is supported with an enterprise newsletter and flyer solution. You should be able to choose from several layout options to build your custom corporate newsletters in either landscape or portrait. Newsletter layouts should be divided into zones to make customization a breeze! Customized corporate templates should then be saved and implemented across multiple properties. Look for a newsletter builder that seamlessly integrates with your existing community platform to feed custom content into the final export. Make sure messaging and sections are uniform, while allowing your individual communities the ability to add their own custom information that speaks specifically to their audience.

15. Community Surveys

Simply put, surveys show residents your commitment to care and service quality! While you certainly care about site-level ratings, being able to disperse and analyze survey responses across all, or a given number of properties will provide you with corporate insight into brand perception and performance. Understand client satisfaction as an organization, increase resident retention, and minimize attrition. An adaptive community survey should be simple enough for any resident to use, should not require an app download, and should be able to be accessed from any web-enabled device.

16. E-Learning Center + Policy & Procedure Database

Education and procedural compliance is critical to success at each senior living community, but how does one ensure all communities are on the same page? An online Learning Management System (LMS) and Policy and Procedure Database (PPD) will give you corporate visibility across all properties. A good LMS will allow you to easily register, educate, and train staff using the platform’s content library while still allowing you to put your pre-existing content (PDF, PPT, Videos, etc.) to good use. A central location for standardized testing on compliance (courses, documents, policies, and procedures) should promote effective staff training and adherence to all rules and regulations. With a great solution, expect to monitor compliance with non-educational items (eg. flu shots) and automate emails and audit reports that provide greater detail based on your role visibility. Remember that educated staff members are more productive. When you provide scalable standardized mandatory training across all locations nation-wide, and add localized state or provincial education, you’re keeping corporate compliance at its highest levels.

17. HIPAA Compliant Video Calling
 

As is expected today, many communities use different video calling platforms to connect residents, families, staff, and healthcare professionals. Deciding on a HIPAA platform that’s designed to be incredibly easy to learn and use for almost anyone – especially for people who aren’t particularly tech-savvy, have low vision, or mobility challenges – will allow for greater adoption. It should work with virtually any device, minimizing the barrier to entry for family members to connect. Healthcare professionals love video calling because it enables remote check-ins which allow practitioners to see and interact with residents more frequently and at less cost. A well-managed video calling solution should create a Circle of Care that could include virtually anyone – from neighbors and loved ones to professional care providers. Support for in-context 3-way video conferencing, sending messages via text message (including video/pictures) and easy scheduling of video calls from a resident’s living room are a must-have. Enjoying easy video visits and sharing the news with everyone at the tap of a button helps support a well-connected community environment.

There is no short supply of technology solutions for senior living operators. It’s difficult to navigate all the options out there and hopefully, this article has helped identify a few relevant solutions for your communities. If we can help with a free analysis of your existing enterprise solutions and make some recommendations, please contact us below and we’d be happy to.

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.

 

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

9 ASSISTED LIVING TECHNOLOGIES YOU NEED IN YOUR SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY

New ways to connect

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

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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

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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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!

17 May Activity Calendar for Seniors Citizens

Do your activities staff spend more time than they should preparing their daily or monthly event or activity calendars?

Are you looking for a way to increase efficiencies in your assisted living facility?

Do you want a fresh, modern and efficient way to display all your activities, special events, photos and other relevant information to your residents?

Join Ceren, one of our leading Training and Support Coordinators as she gives a quick demonstration of some of the ways you can use InTouchLink to quickly design and print calendars in seconds! You can print a monthly Activity Calendar to give out to all your residents, and you can also print a daily activity calendar to post around your building.

Of course, you can also use your own custom TV channel for your community to display menus, activities, photos, birthdays, anniversaries, thoughts of the day, weather, news etc.