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Top Technology Trends for Senior Living Facilities

“Technology trends” might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering the future of senior living communities. But as in almost every other industry, technological shifts both large and small will continue to impact senior and assisted living facilities.

Here are some of the top technologies impacting senior living facilities:

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has many possible applications for technology in assisted living facilities. In combination with smart devices (see below), AI can provide remote monitoring of patients’ vital signs, predict and detect falls, provide automatic updates to loved ones, and reduce the time care providers spend on documentation and compliance paperwork.

IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized homes, businesses, and healthcare. A wide variety of “smart” devices can now be connected, monitored remotely, and updated on the fly. Managing connected devices securely and efficiently is key to using IoT in any healthcare facility, including senior living communities. Facilities need to consider their overall network and device management when choosing connected devices, and they need to prepare for a future involving more and more possibilities for connection.

Electronic Personal Health Records

Electronic personal health records (EHR) are becoming increasingly common across the healthcare industry, including in senior and assisted living facilities. Compared to paper records, EHR offers many benefits: more efficient communication, more accessible records, reduced errors. Facilities will need to consider the right software for their unique workflow and culture, and factor in the learning curve when introducing sophisticated new technology to staff.

Blockchain

Blockchain, a decentralized data management system, offers opportunities for the healthcare sector, including senior and assisted living facilities. Blockchain could help a facility manage data across several locations, maintain complex patient records, or coordinate insurance claims. Blockchain is still an emerging technology, and its potential for use in senior living communities has yet to be fully realized.

No matter how new technology shapes the future of senior living facilities, connection is still the key to thriving senior communities. Contact New LifeStyles today for more resources on senior care.

How to Avoid Long-Term Care Surprised by Planning Ahead

by: Jim Vogel

If you or a loved one needed a nursing home next week, would you know how to pay for it? Planning for long-term care is important. However, too many people fail to talk about it with their loved ones in advance and end up without a plan when the time comes to begin making decisions about long-term care.

Anticipate All of Your Health and Care Costs

The costs of medical care seem to rise with age. For adults who are 65 and older, Medicare can provide help with those costs, but coverage can be limited. That’s why most seniors who are eligible for Medicare opt for additional Medicare Advantage coverage. Medicare Advantage plans can help offset expenses for things like eye exams and dental care. You should do your homework to figure out whether Medicare Advantage coverage could help you or your senior loved one with medical expenses down the road.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is very little Medicare coverage for long-term care. If you have certain Medicare plans, you may be covered for short stays following a hospitalization or to treat or prevent medical conditions. However, for most seniors, the average annual costs of their long-term care needs will not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or any other health insurance. You can expect to pay up to$100,000 each year for skilled care facilities, and you should expect to cover those costs in other ways.

Start Planning for Long-Term Care Costs ASAP 

If you or a senior dependent requires a lengthy stay in a long-term care facility, you could be left footing a huge bill out of your own pocket. However, if you can plan ahead for those costs, you may have many more options for covering those high long-term care bills. For one, you can research insurance plans that may help you pay for long-term care. Long-term care insurance plans tend to be expensive, but if you sign up when you are younger, your premiums have the potential to be much less than if you shop for plans when you are older.

Opening an HSA is also a good option for adults who are planning for long-term care costs ahead of time. You can begin contributing to your HSA early, but those contributions must stop when you become eligible for Medicare. You can use the money in your HSA to help with care costs even if you are enrolled in Medicare.

Of course, financial planning is not the only way you can anticipate your long-term care needs. Better health choices, such as getting more exercise, can help seniors fight off health conditions that could require a lengthy stay in a long-term care facility.

Know How to Pay for Long-Term Care Without Planning

Many times, the need for long-term care is unexpected. Although most seniors will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime, many still do not plan appropriately for it. If you did not plan ahead, but you do own a home, you may be in luck: You could use home equity to get the cash you need for care costs. There are several different options open to homeowners, from taking out a reverse mortgage to selling your property outright. If you think you will be returning to your home, or if long-term care is needed by a loved one, a reverse mortgage may be your best bet. Make sure you know the pros and cons of taking this kind of loan out on your home. Confirm that you can handle the payments or you could end up losing your home.

Another funding choice for long-term care costs is to cash out life insurance. If you have tons of coverage or multiple policies, this could be a safe bet for you. Once again, read the fine print before you make any major financial decision to pay for long-term care.                  

Don’t let long-term care cause you unnecessary stress or derail your retirement plans. If you can manage it, make a plan for long-term care ahead of time. If not, do your homework to figure out a financial option that will work best for you.

Creating Sales Strategy Action Plans for Senior Living Communities

Creating Sales Strategy Action Plans for Senior Living Communities

One of the biggest benefits about having an effective online presence for your senior living community is the inbound sales leads it helps generate. If you don’t have an effective sales strategy, your inbound marketing efforts could be going to waste. A good strategy will not only help focus your sales team’s efforts but also effectively guide prospective residents through the sales process.

Writing the sales strategy doesn’t have to be hard, either. Here is a simple five-step sale strategy action plan that can help your team convert more of your inbound sales into happy residents.

Writing Your Sales Strategy Action Plan

Qualifying Prospective Residents

Your sales team should take time to determine which prospects are the most qualified and the most likely to turn into residents. More qualified leads should get more of your sale’s teams time and attention. Take factors into consideration such as:

  • Engagement history
  • Demographics

Personalizing the Sales Presentation

An inbound lead has already done their research. They’ve read your sales pitch on your website and agree that it might be the right fit for them. They are already informed; now they want more information. That’s why your sales team should personalize the presentation for each lead. Tailor the presentation to their needs and give them more specific information about your facility.

Overcoming Sales Objections

Discover what’s holding people back from signing on the dotted line. Each prospect will have specific concerns or objections to closing the sale with you. Your sales team should know what those common objections are and how to respond to them. For many senior living communities, common sales objections include cost, care, and the happiness of their loved one.

Creating Closing Techniques

Perfecting closing techniques is an area that many salespeople struggle to master. Formalizing a few techniques can help them develop their skills in this important area of the sales process. Develop a few closing techniques they can use, such as closing with a question or a special offer to urge a decision.

Developing a Timeline

Research about how long the sales process takes for your senior living community. Does the timeline change with different inbound channels or different demographics? You’ll be able to better estimate when to move leads to the next step or cut them loose when you know average timelines.

Looking for Help Marketing Your Senior Living Community?

We can help. Contact the New LifeStyles team today to learn more about our services.

A Guide to Elder Abuse Prevention

No Elder Abuse imageElder abuse is a reality for 1 in 10 American seniors. Researchers estimate that people only report 1 in 14 cases. Family, friends, and caregivers are all possible perpetrators of elderly abuse towards seniors living at home. While not a new occurrence, researchers expect elder abuse reporting to increase along with an increase in older populations. Seniors will naturally want to protect themselves, and family members can learn about signs to look for and report if family or paid caregivers are engaging in it.

Types of abuse

Exploitation of seniors for their money can be the most insidious type of abuse, because due to the senior receiving care, attention and affection, it looks consensual. Financial abuse accounted for approximately 30 percent of elderly abuse in a 1996 study. It is difficult to pinpoint when family members are the perpetrators, due to their complex dynamics with the senior and other relatives.

Concerned relatives can keep in mind that financial abuse involves withholding and controlling resources, such as taking a senior’s disability or social security checks. Perpetrators may get seniors to sign over property or financial control under duress or altered mental states. Sometimes financial abuse comes with other forms of abuse, such as neglect, physical and verbal or emotional abuse. Disabled seniors and seniors with dementia or seniors who are otherwise dependent are also at risk for the second most common type of abuse: physical. Contrary to popular belief, however, it is the more independent seniors with financial and physical independence who experience pure financial exploitation. Abusers take advantage of continuing this appearance.

The solution? A relative asking to take a look at expenses and documents would be more out of concern than nosiness. Alternately, you can get an accountant or a lawyer. Seniors get a second or third opinion and that’s always a good thing.

Elder abuse laws

Interventions to reduce senior abuse by caregivers involve psychological screening of caregivers and state laws regarding the necessity of investigating and reporting abuse. It is state law rather than federal law that addresses elder abuse. The elder abuse statutes in forty-eight states and the District of Colombia mention financial abuse but differ in its definition and accountability. They also differ as to whether there’s protection specifically for seniors or all incapacitated or vulnerable adults in general, whether financial abuse must consider the senior’s decision-making ability and what age constitutes seniority. Seniors and their loved ones can report abuse via a local Adult Protective Services office.

Prevention

  • practicing good healthcare
  • creating a living will or setting up a power of attorney
  • periodically reviewing your own will
  • getting involved in community activities and social support groups
  • setting up direct deposit for checks
  • taking care of your own mail
  • not giving sensitive personal information by phone

Seniors can empower themselves by maintaining personal control over their finances and health as much as physically possible. Studies on caregivers show that they don’t prioritize their own health and so benefit from addressing substance abuse and mental health problems. They also benefit from respite care as a “short break” to reduce interpersonal stress.

Your Nursing Home Should Host a Community Easter Egg Hunt

Nursing home care is a topic that the average person avoids thinking about. Most people don’t research or look into nursing home care for Easter Bunny imagethemselves or their loved ones until they are presented with an active need. However, when nursing homes host community events, they have the opportunity to make a great first impression with the people in their community before a need ever arises.

One really fun way to reach out to your community is to host an Easter egg hunt. An egg hunt draws in people of all ages. Young children attend egg hunts along with their parents and grandparents. An egg hunt can be advertised as a Facebook event. You can also post about your egg hunt for free in local community calendars. Most egg hunts are held the Saturday before Easter. That said, if you want to attract a larger crowd, you could choose to host your Easter egg hunt two Saturdays before Easter, or on a Friday evening instead.

The most successful egg hunts have candy filled plastic eggs separated into different areas for different age groups. You can offer “prize” eggs by putting a slip of paper that says “winner” into specific eggs. When a child finds a winning egg, they bring their slip to the prize table and exchange it for a prize of their choice. You can purchase cheap prizes at your local dollar store, or ask for prize donations from local business. If you expect to repeat the egg hunt next year, ask participants to return their plastic eggs into containers you provide, after they have collected the candy from them.

In addition to the amazing opportunity to bring community members into your nursing home, your residents will love seeing all the little children hunt for eggs. You can maximize the residents’ joy from their young visitors, by inviting the children to participate in an “Easter Parade” through the hallways before the hunt begins. Play music on a wireless speaker and lead the children and their families through the hallways, encouraging them to wave at  and blow kisses to the residents. When you help community members build happy memories with their families, they will remember you when anyone they know is looking for nursing home care.

4 Ways to Save Money on Durable Medical Equipment

by: James Fleming

The ever-growing cost of healthcare is rarely more prevalent than in the price tag associated with home medical equipment. If you are in need and looking to save money, don’t miss this quick guide:

What is Durable Medical Equipment?

Often referred to by its acronym, DME, durable medical equipment is any tool or device that generates therapeutic benefits for a patient with a diagnosed medical condition or illness. DME is durable which means it can withstand ongoing re-use and can be utilized in the home. Some examples of DME include:

  • Mobility aids like a knee walker scooter, cane, or wheelchair
  • Hospital beds
  • Pressure mattresses
  • Nebulizers
  • Oxygen equipment
  • Hoyer lifts
  • Kidney machines

If you or a loved one experienced an immobilizing injury as the result of a fall, a wheelchair or walker may be prescribed by your doctor. That type of equipment qualifies as DME. One of the most important aspects of DME, at least when it comes to insurance coverage, is that the equipment would be of no use to you if you did not have your medical condition.

How to Save on Durable Medical Equipment?

When it comes to purchasing or leasing DME, pretty much every piece of equipment is available at a retail price for someone looking to pay out of pocket. The costs can be astronomical, however, which is why it is important to either get it covered by health insurance or find deeply discounted options when possible. Keep these helpful tips in mind when shopping:

Get a Doctor’s Order

A prescription from your doctor for a specific assistive device will trigger a process by which insurance connects you with local providers and covers some or all of the cost of the equipment. While the journey from seeing your doctor and receiving the equipment can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months depending on the provider and type of device, this is the primary way to save money.

Similar to writing an order for home health care, a prescription for a medical device that aids your specific condition needs to be written by your doctor. In addition to the order, your doctor will also have to provide medical history information and evidence that effectively backs up their recommendation. If approved, an insurance company will have a local medical equipment company contact you in regards to fulfilling the order.

Check a Local Lending Library

You might be surprised to find out that lots of senior-focused organizations like the National Council on Aging and elder resources nonprofits offer free DME lending programs for adults over 65. The programs are donation-based but can be a true asset, especially if you need temporary medical equipment, like crutches.

These types of programs collect gently-used equipment that other people have donated and then clean and repair it as needed for lending. Most often, if you are in need, you can get on a list to be notified when the tool or device you require becomes available. You may be asked to sign a form saying you are borrowing the equipment and will return it when you are finished using it.

Sometimes churches and regional medical resource centers will also offer medical equipment exchange programs so it is definitely worth looking around. Either search online or contact your nearby Council on Aging to see what programs they may know about.

Look Online

In the digital age, it’s no surprise that an array of discounted, quality medical equipment can be found online. Whether it’s on big sites like Amazon or independent DME distributors, your chances of finding the item you need on the internet are high.

When shopping online, make sure to watch out for steep shipping costs and always check product reviews, they can be illuminating and save you an expensive purchase you regret.

Try the Pharmacy

With senior care demand on a rapid rise, more and more pharmacies are taking cues to stock up on home medical supplies that can effectively improve a senior’s quality of life. Everything from mobility aids to bed rails, grab bars, toilet seat risers, transfer benches, overbed tables, even lift chair recliners are available at pharmacies or their online websites.

In addition to purchasing items in-store when they are on sale, one way to save money is to sign up for the store’s rewards program. If you’re going to be picking up prescriptions and medical equipment there, might as well earn rewards points that qualify you for special coupons and cashback the more you shop there. Pharmacies often include you in sweepstakes to earn even bigger savings too simply for completing things like online surveys.

Tips for In-Home Caregivers Who Notice Seasonal Depression on Client Visits

Depressed senior imageSeniors are not exempt from seasonal holiday depression. In fact, they are likely to become depressed during holidays for several reasons. Many of their friends may be far away or may have passed over the last few years, and often they are isolated from social contact with others.

Whether you are caring for a senior or know someone who fits this description, there are several things you can do to help avoid or manage seasonal depression.

Suggest To Families That They Visit More Often

Loneliness is a prime contributing factor to seasonal depression. Visiting someone you know is alone, and inviting them to your home for holiday celebrations can give them a boost and a chance to interact with people. If your senior is physically able, you can ask them to help in preparations and cooking to make them feel more at home. If not, then inviting them to eat with you or join group games is something you can do. For seniors who are seriously disabled or ill, stop by their home and sit and talk to them once or twice a week to help them feel more included. You can also take videos of your holiday preparation to show them when you visit.

Make Sure They are Healthy

Physical ailments can easily lead to moodiness or depression. As a concerned caregiver, make sure your senior is taking their medication, getting exercise, and visiting the doctor regularly.

Invite Them to Mild Exercise

Mild exercise is good for seniors as it stimulates the body and mind. Invite your senior for a short walk or yoga class if they are able to take part. Getting outdoors is good for seniors as long as the weather cooperates. If you can’t exercise outdoors, then try visiting a museum or go shopping to get some walking in.

Add Some Natural Light

If you live in an area that is devoid of much sunlight, try adding extra light in the home. Many people find that full-spectrum light can help alleviate depression because it mimics natural light.

Add Laughter to Their Day

Laughter truly is the best medicine and you can help your senior better enjoy their day through playing games, reminiscing, and trying something silly. See if you can find something fun to add to your senior’s life by sparking laughter. Laughter is a good way to improve your senior’s mood.

The Pro’s and Con’s of Pet Ownership for Seniors In Their Homes

Pets play important roles in many senior’s lives

The pro’s and con’s of pet ownership for seniors are important when Dog cat imageconsidering a new dog or cat to join the household because each family and pet is different in many ways. A good fit makes for a good outcome, a happy life together for the pet and everybody involved.

Cats, dogs, and birds often provide companionship and emotional support to their human family members. Seniors are no different from younger pet owners who live with pets as members of the family because of love and companionship. Often the pet fills an empty nest or empty heart in a senior’s life when a partner or child is no longer here.

Pets come with responsibilities like other family members. These pro’s and con’s can help seniors and pets be a good fit for a long happy life together. 

Pro’s for pet ownership for seniors

1. Pets provide companionship to seniors who spend long hours alone in their homes.

2. Pets provide seniors with something to do during the day and exercise.

3. Pets and seniors enrich each other’s lives.

Con’s for pet ownership for seniors

1. Seniors who are use to living alone may not adjust to the demands and noise pets make on a daily basis. Some dogs bark to much when visitors come by and some cats require more attention than other cats.

2. The pet overburden the senior owner with responsibilities, such as the daily potty walk or clean-up, unexpected veterinary bills or regular grooming visits.

3. Some pets do not fit well in senior households due to the pet’s temperament, training or bad habits.

One of the best ways to decide if a pet is the right choice for senior ownership is to discuss the pro’s and con’s with the senior so they can decide if a pet is best for their lifestyle.

Mobile Dentistry Benefits for an Aging Community

by: Dr. Greg Grillo (dentably.com)Dentist image

A mobile dentist is a dentist who provides access to in-home dental care to someone who may otherwise not be able to visit a dental office. A dentist may have a mobile dental clinic of their own or it may be a service offered at one’s dental office. I have been practicing dentistry for 17 years and believe everyone should have access to high-quality dental care. Unfortunately, this access is becoming a major problem facing dentistry today. Because of this, mobile dentistry has been on the rise. Having a mobile dentist visit one’s home can be especially beneficial to aging individuals who may have a hard time getting to a dental office. Here’s why.

  1. Save time

Mobile dentistry can be beneficial to maintaining good oral hygiene as you get older. As one ages, there are other health-related ailments that an individual might suffer from. Because of this, oral hygiene can, unfortunately, take a back seat. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, one out of every five people over the age of 75, haven’t seen a dentist in the past five years. This is concerning because along with other health-related issues, there are many dental concerns among senior citizens.

In order to continue having a healthy mouth, a mobile dentist is very beneficial. Since mobile dentists visit the individuals home, scheduling a mobile dentist can save caretakers time by not having to drive to the dental office. Mobile dentists will also often visit senior care communities and service many patients at once. Eliminating the time and stress of finding transportation makes it much easier for senior citizens to receive dental care.

  1. Dental emergencies

 Dental emergencies are a serious concern among senior citizens. Individuals over the age of 60 are more prone to dental conditions such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. As mentioned before, access to transportation makes it difficult for the elderly to receive the dental care they need. If someone experiences a dental emergency, there may be no way for them to receive care which can lead to potentially life-threatening situations. This is where mobile dentistry might be useful. Like regular dental clinics, most mobile dentists have available on-call emergency hours. Having a dentist available to visit a patient’s home when they experience a dental emergency could save their life. This is why mobile dental clinics are important.

  1. Other mobile health care providers

There are other mobile healthcare services that many doctors provide for the elderly. Podiatrists, x-ray services, and even primary health care providers often have mobile services for senior citizens and senior communities. It’s essential that individuals are still able to receive the care they need and it can be stressful for caretakers to schedule and provide transportation to various appointments. With mobile health care providers, it can be much easier for seniors to receive care. That’s why more and more health care offices and businesses are providing mobile services to patients.

As one ages, it is essential to their overall health and well-being that they continue to receive dental care and practice good oral hygiene in their home. The reason many senior citizens don’t seek dental care from a dentist is it’s not easily accessible to them. However, with mobile dentistry, a dentist can visit their home and provide them with treatment. This makes it much easier for aging individuals to receive the dental care that they need.

Ways to Attract More Home Care Clients

In 1985 older adults accounted for 11% of the U.S. population. By the year 2030, that number is expected to rise to 20%. Today, there are more than 46 million Americans over the age of 65, and by the year 2060, that number will more than double to more than 98 million and the elderly will comprise of nearly one in four U.S. residents.

The statistics alone confirm the importance of health care services for the elderly. Whether it’s nursing homes, hospice care or home care, the need for these services will  increase substantially over time. As a home care provider, it is up to you to convince potential clients, and their families, that home care is the best option and your services are better than your competitors.

After more than seventeen years of working in the home care industry, I have learned what potential clients, as well as their families, want to hear the services you provide in order to make the best decision for themselves. Here are three advantages I have discovered to be most important when choosing one home care provider over another.

  • First thing: Independence. In many cases,  independence is one aspect of life that a potential client can control. Home care allows individual the ability to maintain their regular schedules and routines, and the choice of when to eat, sleep and bathe. Independence is an important luxury to someone who feels as if they’ve lost control of everything in their life. Ensuring your potential client that home care will allow them to maintain their independence can significantly increase their interest in your services.
  • Second thing: Cost. Perhaps one of the most beneficial reasons for a client to choose home care is it costs significantly less than other forms of care. Many people over the age of 65 live on a fixed income, and with the cost of living and healthcare steadily increasing, saving money might be crucial for them and their families.
  • Third thing: Health. The risks for contracting a sickness or an infection while in hospital or nursing home environments are significantly reduced when choosing home care instead. With in-home care, the client is allowed to receive medical and personal care in the comforts of their own home. These options might increase the chances of the potential client and their family members choosing to use your home care services as opposed to alternative services.

One important thing to remember is to take advantage of the fact that the pros of choosing home care can outweigh the cons. You just have to know what services your potential clients feel are most important. In my experience, the three aforementioned concerns are most desirable.