11 Ways Technology Solutions Enhance Senior Living Communities

Written by Dan Star

11 Ways Technology Solutions Can Enhance Assisted Living Facilities

As an administrator to an assisted living facility, you are familiar with the struggles that new residents face. Advances in technology are improving the lives of your residents and employees alike. 

Many aspects of technology allow your residents and patients of senior living communities to: 

  • Be monitored more closely by their caregivers 
  • Stay in touch with their loved ones
  • Provide a multitude of other services to make their daily activities easier and more entertaining 

Continue reading if you want to enhance your residents’ lives by allowing them to live as independently as possible. This article goes into more detail about how modern-day technology improves the lives of everyone in your assisted living facility—from residents to caregivers. 

Prevention is the Best Medicine – Technology Helps

It is safe to say that preventing a medical issue before it happens is always better than having to deal with it afterward. With the advances in technology and artificial intelligence, we will be able to prevent and predict when medical issues will happen and deal with them more quickly. 

The senior housing market is growing exponentially due to the large population of people over the age of 65. By the year 2050, it is expected that the population of those who are 65 and older will double. 

This means that medical professionals will need all the help they can get. New technologies and artificial intelligence are a way to alleviate caregivers from time-consuming tasks that take them away from their patients and allow them to give the best care possible.   

Turning Over a New Leaf – Technically Speaking

In the past, people of a certain age have been wary and resistant when it comes to the quickly evolving world of technology. Despite these fears, more and more seniors are jumping on the techno-bandwagon and getting comfortable with the new ways people communicate and live their daily lives with the latest technology. 

Technology is greatly improving the lives of those living and working in assisted living and nursing facilities by creating new opportunities and better ways of monitoring and communicating with residents and patients for better caregiving. 

Studies show that approximately 90% of Americans are online, and out of that percentage, approximately 15% of internet users are age 65 and older. That is roughly 44 million seniors surfing the world wide web! After hearing that statistic, do you still think that technology is just for the younger generation? 

Removing the Stigma that Comes with Technology

You may be wondering how your residents are catching on so quickly. As technology is advancing, so are the ways of learning how to use it. Most assisted living facilities offer classes that teach their residents how to use the internet and the gadgets that go along with it. 

Often, nurses and caregivers will take the time to teach residents and patients until they are comfortable enough to use it on their own. Getting comfortable with technology is a learning process that takes time and sometimes lots of patience. 

Even so, tech is greatly improving the quality of lives of those who have to leave their homes’ comfort and those who care for them. Here are some examples:

Assisted Living Technologies (ALT) 

You may be wondering what the term assisted living technologies truly means. Assisted living technologies are designed to make getting around and performing daily tasks easier for residents, patients and caregivers. 

Utilizing these technologies helps people regain their independence and live a more normal lifestyle. This section will go into more detail about what technologies are used and how they benefit the residents, patients, and those who care for them. 

Approximately 30% of falls can be prevented; with the use of modern-day technology, this number can be greatly increased. Source

Preventing Slips and Falls

Keeping track of a person who tends to wander or get up without assistance can be difficult when you are trying to care for multiple residents or patients. Thanks to the great invention of bed and chair pads with sensors that alert when a person is getting up, caregivers can respond more quickly to prevent accidents. 

There are also alarms with sensors for doors and windows that provide an alert when they are being opened to prevent wandering. Another way that wandering can be prevented is by using motion detectors that can sense when a person swings their leg over the edge of the bed. They can be placed in strategic places to alert caregivers when someone is “out of bounds.”  

Remote Monitoring/Emergency Response Systems 

Monitoring systems are being installed into resident’s units and patient rooms, as well as wearable devices that alert the proper people at the click of a button when there has been a fall or any other type of emergency. The pendant can sense when a person falls by the shock that it absorbs and will alert the proper authority

Nurse’s stations and caregiver’s areas are being equipped with a central monitoring system to be alerted when there is an issue with a resident or patient. They can communicate directly through it. In situations where extra monitoring may be necessary, there are video surveillance systems that caregivers can use to monitor residents and patients remotely and assist them as needed. Residents and patients will be able to speak to an emergency response person directly through the device. 

Another great thing about modern-day technology is that it allows family members to look in on loved ones, monitor their care, and see that they are okay by using video surveillance apps that can be directly downloaded to any smart device. This can give the resident and family members peace of mind knowing that they are being monitored. 

Medication Management

Many individuals who require regular medications have difficulty remembering when to take their medicine or if they even took it at all. Thanks to modern technology, there are now automatic medication dispensers with reminder alerts to make medication time less of a hassle. 

Some pill dispensing systems come with a wearable timer to help patients remember when it’s time to take their medication. These systems help increase compliance and efficacy of the medications because they are being taken properly so people will experience better overall results. 

Safety Devices for Daily Tasks

We all get distracted from time to time. It is not uncommon for seniors to leave a burner or the oven on and forget about it for a little while. This is how many kitchen fires start. 

For those who are more independent and still able to cook and do basic household tasks, to prevent fires from happening, some special sensors and alarms can be installed on appliances like the kitchen stove to detect if a burner or the oven has been left on when it is no longer being used. 

Health Monitoring

Some systems can be installed to monitor residents and patients while they are in their rooms. These systems detect things such as: 

  • Body temperature
  • Fall indicators
  • Heart rate
  • Infrared images
  • Motion sensors
  • Respiratory rate

Artificial intelligence systems are being introduced that track the following things to learn an individual’s normal mannerisms so it can detect and prevent issues:  

  • Balance
  • Gait
  • Stride speed
  • Walk speed

Eradicate Feelings of Isolation – Connect Online

One of the biggest advantages of incorporating technology into the daily lives of those living in assisted living and nursing facilities is that it allows them to have an active and fulfilling social life. When a person has to move from their home and regular routine, it can be extremely stressful and can cause depression and anxiety. By connecting online, residents can stay in touch with their family and friends more frequently. 

Being connected to the internet reduces feelings of isolation that many experience when moving from their homes to their new environment. Due to the increase in the use of the internet and the technical devices that go along with it, more and more assisted living, and nursing facilities are creating computer labs for their residents and patients to visit. 

Computer Labs

Computer labs provide a valuable resource to those who are using them. As mentioned above, most assisted living and nursing facilities offer classes that help residents and patients use the technology around them. 

Getting online has other benefits: 

  • Connecting with old friends, 
  • Searching for information, 
  • Joining in on church services and other community activities to keep oneself entertained,
  • Feeling like they are a part of something and not just being sent to a home to live out their remaining days 

Some examples of what these classes teach are:

  • Basic computer operating skills
  • How to download apps and games
  • How to get online and search the web
  • How to send and check emails
  • How to set up a social media account
  • How to set-up an email address
  • How to use a smartphone and/or tablet
  • How to use an LTE watch
  • How to video chat with family and friends

Other Ways of Being Entertained 

Smart devices offer multitudes of apps and games that can be downloaded to keep senior citizens’ minds entertained and engaged for hours. Many of these applications offer ways for residents and patients to connect and interact with their friends for an added element of fun:

  • Brain training games
  • Jig-Saw Puzzles
  • Match games
  • Online books
  • Trivia games
  • Word Games
  • Podcasts

Most assisted living facilities also have cable or satellite TV throughout the entire community, giving people another option for entertainment. If someone has impaired hearing or vision, closed captioning is available to read and describe what is going on. 

Staying Fit with the Help of Technology

Our bodies are designed to move. When we remain sedentary for too long, our muscles start to atrophy, and we become weak. Exercise promotes proper circulation and blood flow, which reduces the risk of CVT (cardiovascular thrombosis). 

This condition is created when blood clots break free. When this happens, they can travel from their stationary position to the lungs and result in serious complications such as stroke or death. 

Modern technology can help residents and patients stay in shape by using wearable fitness tracking devices such as a Fitbit™ and apps with instructional videos of exercises that keep people moving. 

Virtual Appointments Make for Better Medicine 

Another way that advances in technology is helping those living in assisted living and nursing facilities is by connecting patients with their medical professionals on the internet via telehealth visits. This feature allows for more frequent check-ups and easier monitoring for routine issues and chronic medical conditions.  

Many medical issues can be taken care of without having to visit the doctor in person. This saves time and money while also reducing the pain and stress of traveling to the doctor’s office and waiting for a prolonged amount of time in the waiting room to handle something that may only take a few minutes to address. 

Order Up! Ordering, Delivery, and Smart Farming

When making a big change like moving into an assisted living facility, people need to maintain their regular lifestyle and eating habits as much as possible. Thanks to smart devices, people can order just about any kind of food they can think of and have it delivered right to their door. 

Smart devices can also: 

  • Make restaurant reservations 
  • Order groceries for delivery 
  • Give ideas of new recipes to try for those who are still doing their own cooking 

Many assisted living facilities are now offering vegan options and ways for getting residents involved in nutrition and sustainability. Residents have the opportunity to help care for food grown in on-site smart gardens and greenhouses. These growing centers have automated processes to maintain the growth of fresh foods for those who wish to live a greener lifestyle. 

How Technology Helps Caregivers and Staff

You may be wondering how technology can help the medical professionals and other staff members in your assisted living or nursing facility. Many gadgets are being used to monitor residents and patients better. 

As we mentioned earlier, when individuals are not supposed to get up or leave their room without assistance, facilities use sensors and alarms that alert medical staff that someone has gotten up or is not where they should be. 

This reduces the risk of slips and falls. It also prevents people with Alzheimer’s from wandering and getting lost. Multiple types of monitoring devices can be directly connected to a smartphone or transmitted directly to the medical professional that needs the information for different things such as: 

  • Basic vital signs
  • Heart rate
  • Blood sugar levels

There are also apps designed for medical professionals and caregivers that can answer questions and give recommendations for the treatment of general issues. 

Sanitizing for Safety with the Help of Technology 

The key to keeping everyone healthy is to follow proper sanitization protocols. A clean environment is a healthy environment. Thanks to modern technology, new cleaning and sanitizing methods are being implemented to ensure that residents, patients, and caregivers live and work in a safe place. A new technology that uses UVC lighting in conjunction with traditional cleaning methods to help eliminate germs and bacteria that can spread to other people. 

The Virtues of a Virtual Assistant

Using a virtual assistant such as Siri™, Alexa™, or Google™ is becoming more and more popular. These assistants are especially handy for someone who may be visually impaired. If a person wants to know what the weather will be like for the next week, all they have to do is ask. 

Anything an individual needs to know is available at the tip of their tongue. Virtual assistants are also beneficial to family members who may not be able to visit every day; they can check-in through the virtual assistant to see how their loved one is doing. 

The resident can receive an added entertainment benefit from using a virtual assistant (VA) in that the VA can read aloud: 

  • Articles from the web
  • Books 
  • News
  • Stories 

This also helps keep the resident’s cognitive functions engaged.

Appointments and Reminders – No Longer Forget 

As we age, we begin having trouble remembering dates and times of certain appointments or events; it’s natural. Thanks to smartphones and other new devices, we no longer have to remember every detail. 

These devices offer applications that can remind people of their doctor’s appointment or when their grandchildren are having a birthday. They are also very handy for those who take medication regularly. These devices allow people to set schedules and alarms that remind them of missing any doses. 

AI Health Monitoring: The Way of the Future

Monitoring residents and patients using artificial intelligence technology is quickly becoming a necessary course of action that improves the quality of life for: 

  • Residents 
  • Patients
  • Caregivers
  • Family members 

Artificial intelligence is being used in facilities worldwide to make up for a shortage of skilled caregivers. Using artificial intelligence along with other new technologies makes for better overall healthcare. Doctors, caregivers, and family members can be alerted right away when there is an issue, and it can be dealt with quickly. 

AI Reduces Stress and Worry for Family Members

Being able to monitor the activities and status of a loved one daily is one of the greatest benefits of using new technologies. Giving family members access to monitor their loved ones artificial intelligence and remote monitoring also keeps the facility on their toes to ensure they are providing the best care for each resident or patient. 

Artificial intelligence will allow caregivers to leave messages and photos for family members to check. This is especially helpful to family members who do not live close to the facility. 

AI Companions and Helpers

There are already robots specially designed to keep a person company and even chat with them. They are not meant to replace human interaction and socialization. They are meant to be an aid to the individual and help with daily tasks and provide a certain amount of companionship. 

These companion robots can help residents and patients who have difficulty communicating and provide a multitude of other services such as reminders: 

  • To take medication 
  • Of appointments
  • Of other scheduled events

Companion robots will be able to monitor a resident or patient’s health and alert the proper authorities if there is an issue. Artificial intelligence companions and wearable devices will also learn: 

  • An individual’s behaviors
  • The way they speak and move
  • Can notify the proper authorities if they notice any change in their usual activities 

Wearable devices are also great for when a patient is in immediate need because they can push a button, and the caregiver or emergency response personnel can pinpoint their exact location and get to them quickly. 

AI Connecting Residents Socially

Artificial intelligence will connect residents of assisted living facilities by matching their profiles to other individuals with similar likes and interests. This feature will help make the transition to a new home easier and allow them to feel less isolated. 

Artificial intelligence can also connect residents and patients socially by using the technology to coordinate social calendars and events. Traditionally common areas of a facility will have boards posted with activities and events that residents can attend. 

By using smart technology, residents can browse the community board from their devices and create a schedule of what they want to attend. 

Better Caregiver Quality, Productivity, and Morale

Artificial intelligence can improve the caregiver’s productivity and quality of work by reducing the amount of paperwork and other time-consuming tasks that take away from their ability to actually care for the individual. 

Artificial intelligence can also help medical professionals and caregivers keep better track of their hours and wages. There is a high turn-over rate for nurses and caregivers due to the low pay rate and the large amount of work that is required. Much of the work does not even include taking care of the patient but rather is spent filling out paperwork. 

Current EHRs Soon to be a Thing of the Past

The introduction of electronic health records (EHR’s) in 1972 has helped the medical field in many ways. However, because not every medical facility is integrated with the same software, medical information can be delayed, lost, or misinterpreted. 

Artificial intelligence can change the playing field by making it so all medical professionals and caregivers can view an individual’s complete medical records and history to make the best decisions for that person. Artificial intelligence will make it easier to document and track a person’s medication intake and keep better records in their chart. 

Considering that around 75% of senior citizens have at least two chronic issues, that can be a lot of documenting that a caregiver has to do. Artificial intelligence can take over mundane tasks and allow for better, more personalized care. 

Avoiding Spams and Scams – Don’t Be Fooled

We have all heard the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” With more and more senior citizens diving into the world of technology, more dastardly individuals are going to try to scam them. 

Don’t let your residents and patients fall victim to being scammed. Many scammers will try to intimidate an individual by telling them that if they don’t pay a certain amount of money over the phone, they will somehow be in trouble with the FBI, IRS, or other law enforcement or financial institutions. This is an awful but very real thing that happens every day. 

Seniors are having their life savings stolen by these unscrupulous characters. Be cautious about what websites they visit and to whom they give their personal information. Reputable sources will never call or e-mail an individual and ask for any personal information or request money. 

Patience, Understanding, and Acceptance

When dealing with an individual who is resistant to the changing times or may be fearful of the new technology because they do not understand how to use it, be patient, kind, and understanding with them. Take the time to show them how to use their smart devices and give them time to get adjusted to their new environment. 

Once things have been explained, and they have had the time to learn, most senior citizens grow to embrace and accept the new technology that the world has to offer. 

After all, there is no going back, so we may as well learn how to function as efficiently as possible with all this new-fangled technology. 

AI Technology to Prevent Leaving Home

As more research and development is being done, it looks like artificial intelligence may be the future of medicine and healthcare. Individuals will be able to install smart technology and artificial intelligence systems in their homes to prolong or prevent them from having to go to an assisted living or nursing facility. 

AI and New Technology Equals Better Healthcare

The thought of a machine or a robot caring for a human being can cause some feelings of trepidation among caregivers and those receiving care. There may be concerns that a machine cannot give the same level of care that a human can. However, adopting the new technologies and taking advantage of their benefits allows doctors and caregivers to provide the best and most personalized care for their residents and patients. 

Contact GrooveTechnology Solutions for the Best Technology Solutions

The residents in your assisted living facility don’t have to lose their independence, especially with today’s technology solutions. At Groove Technology Solutions, we strive to help your residents feel as empowered and independent as possible with our easy-to-use technology. We pride ourselves in providing businesses with the friendliest, most responsive customer service. We work with businesses throughout all 50 states—there’s a reason why we have thousands of happy clients and counting! Find out the Groove Technology Solutions difference today, and get in touch with us to see how we can enhance your business.