Senior Living Technology

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.

 

20 Jul How to Improve Occupancy in Senior Living Using Technology

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

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

Take Full Advantage of Your Online Platform

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

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

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

Have Family Members Involved As Much as Possible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impress Your Prospects with a Hotel-Style Feel

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

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

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

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

 

 

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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.