Assisted Living

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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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.