Seniors and technology at Elder Care Alliance.

How is Technology Transforming Assisted Living?

Walk into an assisted living community these days and you may think you’ve entered an upscale resort. With positive changes in everything from interior design to wellness to amenities and services, assisted living provides a welcoming environment where seniors can thrive.

Technology has played a significant role in the progress of assisted living in recent years. With new opportunities emerging thanks to technology, administrators can provide services unavailable in individuals’ homes while improving resident comfort and freedom of choice.

What are some of the key ways in which technology has transformed — and is continuing to transform — assisted living?

Improved Quality of Care

As of 2014, about 75 percent of U.S. senior living communities had implemented things like electronic medical records and point-of-care, which provide greater security and efficiency in handling residents’ private health information.

And technology will continue to provide improvements in coming years. Communities are beginning to implement telehealth technology — which includes smart devices and networks — to provide a wealth of data that can help assisted living professionals provide the highest level of care. Tasks assigned to these smart technologies include tracking vital signs and providing backup for administering medications.

In addition, many communities are implementing technologies to help with wellness-related programs like physical rehabilitation and fitness.

Community-Wide Internet Access

Many assisted living communities have jumped on the internet bandwagon in recent years. Residents are increasingly tech-savvy, bringing along devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones as they move into assisted living residences. Whether they participate in lifelong learning, social media, entertainment, or practical pursuits like paying bills, today’s seniors demand always-on access to a fast internet connection.

Many assisted living communities have installed secure, fast Wi-Fi networks for residents and team members, and many offer separate guest networks for visiting friends, relatives and vendors.

Increased Security

Many seniors choose to move to assisted living for the multitude of security features, including trained staff members on hand at all times and physical security elements like non-slip flooring, hand rails, a lack of stairs and excellent lighting.

As technology continues to advance, communities have begun using it to make assisted living campuses even more secure. Residents who need help can simply press a button and expect a timely emergency response, often anywhere on the assisted living campus.

Ease of Communication with Loved Ones

With fast internet widely available in assisted living, many residents are using platforms like Skype and Facetime to keep in touch with family members and longtime friends. In many communities, you’ll find trained personnel or volunteers who teach residents how to use these technologies to video chat with people they otherwise may not see very often.

Chatting via video provides an experience that is more intimate than a simple phone call, and it allows residents to experience family milestones — including birthdays, school performances, graduations and weddings — firsthand.

If you’re considering a move to assisted living, be sure to ask how technology in the community can help improve your quality of life. You may be surprised at all the ways in which your assisted living community is using technology.

Sources:

http://www.assistedlivingfacilities.org/resources/how-tech-advanced-are-facilities-/

http://seniorhousingnews.com/2012/02/23/harnessing-the-potential-of-technology-in-senior-living-facilities/

http://seniorhousingnews.com/2014/12/18/senior-living-tech-adoption-remains-steady-but-lags-in-some-areas/

http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-8-27-future-senior-care/

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/senior-centers-turn-skype-article-1.982714