You work in a senior living community. Or maybe you run one. Your senior residents, (aka the centre of the establishment), grew up in a simpler time. They got a chance to speak to someone only if they gathered the energy to actually walk over to that person’s house, children played with real toys outside, not computers indoors, and “messages” were delivered through Morse code or pigeon (did I go too far back?). Whenever I rave about a new tech product I want to buy, my grandparents (and parents) ask me multiple times why I want it, and whether I really need it. A lot of seniors couldn’t care less about technology or all of its seemingly endless benefits to the majority of today’s society. Care is what they need, and good people, not good computers, are what they prefer. So why would you put technology at the forefront of your retirement community?
As someone who works in the senior living industry, I will forever recognize and understand that people are its most important resource. And that is why you need technology. Confused? Let me elaborate.
Technology has exponentially grown in the past 25 years throughout all industries as a response to problems that people want to solve.
I’ll give you an example.
Problem: Senior care worker at an assisted living community cannot tend to the residents because she is covering the front desk for the receptionist, who is busy making the rounds around the building to change paper copies of event posters, calendars, and menus for the week. Normally, this front desk superstar is also busy taking calls from residents and families and making notes on their requests, such as booking a table in the dining room for a family dinner, or fixing a clogged drain.
Solution: Assisted Living Community switches to a technology-based menu and activity system that relays information on large-screen TVs throughout the community and in resident suites. Front desk worker can now easily change information instantaneously without leaving her desk.
A family and resident portal add-on allows requests to be made online that go straight to the maintenance workers who take care of the requests and easily update the system.
End result: Front desk worker and senior care worker have more time to focus on the residents, instead of wasting time on tedious tasks.
Real end result: Residents are happier. Staff members are happier.
See what I mean?
A lot of the backlash of technology in the senior living industry stems from the misunderstanding that technology should not be the focus because the people are the focus. But the real purpose of introducing technology is for the people to be the focus. So much time is spent on multiple, tedious systems; learning them, maintaining them, updating them. Or spending too much time on out-dated, messy, paper-and-pencil methods.
If you’ve ever seen a senior resident look at a TV screen and smile because they see themselves in a photo on the screen, you’ll understand that this technology was made for them to be happy. To bring them closer to the community. To keep them engaged and aware, and avoid isolation. To make it easier for your staff and give them free time to focus on what’s really important – your residents.
If you agree, and you want to uplift your community – let us know. We’re here to help.