Assisted Living

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

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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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!