People are enjoying longer fuller lives nowadays, and aging adults are seeking housing to fit their lifestyles. Senior living communities appeal to potential residents by offering various amenities and services. Today’s senior citizens are quite tech savvy. The PewResearch Center reports that 60% of seniors regularly use the Internet and 77% own cell phones. Retirees expect to find up-to-date technology in their housing options, but meeting these high-tech demands can be challenging for some communities. Housing developers understand this need and integrate technology into building plans. However, existing communities are faced with the challenge of upgrading. Here, we will examine which technologies seniors are seeking and how communities can meet these demands.
Internet access is a top priority for seniors who are evaluating their housing options. The web allows them to stay in touch with friends and family, shop, learn, and play. Community operators meet these requirements in a number of ways. Some have created dedicated computer rooms or Internet cafés within the community. This is a wonderful way for residents to gather and socialize while using the Internet. It also provides a space to offer tech programs that teach residents how to use computers, mobile devices, and the Internet. Some communities implement Wi-Fi access throughout the entire facility. It can become expensive for existing communities to upgrade and update their systems. However, with connectivity being in such high demand, Wi-Fi access has become a necessity in order to offer relevant services to potential residents. Other communities opt to let residents obtain and pay for their own wi-fi via the local internet/cable provider.
Efficiency and Effectiveness
While technology provides lots of fun and leisure, it also allows communities to function more efficiently and effectively. High-tech devices are used for many areas of senior care to improve services and in turn, improve the lives of residents. For example, skilled nursing and memory care communities use motion sensors to detect nighttime movement and help them determine if a resident needs assistance. Assisted-living communities use a variety of tech to record work flow and response times. Memory care operators use real time tracking location systems (RTLS) to keep residents safe by tracking their location within the community. Technology is also important for daily business operations, such as payments, billing, purchasing, marketing, medical records, medication management and more. Some communities even use an intranet to get feedback from residents & keep them apprised of events and announcements.
Making it Happen
Community operators know the importance of using current technology. However, in some cases it may be cost prohibitive. Some communities use financing options to afford the necessary upgrades. While the upfront cost may be substantial, community leaders understand the need for forward thinking tech solutions. Current and future residents expect cutting-edge technology and community operators must rise to the challenge.
There is no single, “cookie-cutter” solution. Every community is unique and has its own needs. It’s important to evaluate all the innovations and determine which ones will be most beneficial to the residents while remaining cost effective.