As of 2030, there will be more people living in the US over the age of sixty-five than under the age of five, according to research.
Many scholars are concerned that the healthcare system is not ready to support this growing population and if labor challenges continue as we’ve seen, senior living communities may struggle to provide expert care as well.
Because of these challenges, the demand for innovative technology solutions that support the health and well-being of seniors and enhance their quality of life continues to grow.
Additionally, Baby Boomers are soon to be the largest population living in senior living communities and they are not shy or uncomfortable with today’s advancing technology solutions.
For these reasons and more, it will be important for senior living communities to adopt technology solutions to not only support the care of residents but also to keep up with a population that expects innovation interwoven into their daily lives.
Innovative technology is essential to attracting new residents who are focused on staying connected and active for as long as possible.
Many of the latest technological advancements can significantly improve senior care and make senior living communities more appealing to prospective residents and their families.
From providing cleaner and safer facilities to wearable health monitors to remote monitoring and alert systems, there are a wide variety of solutions that senior living facilities can adopt now to improve the environment, support staff, and empower seniors with more independence while also remaining safe and healthy.
Below are leading technology systems changing the way seniors live.
Wearable health monitors, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, are powerful tools for monitoring senior residents' well-being. These devices can track vital signs, and activity levels, and even detect falls.
Falls are one of the most dangerous accidents for aging adults. According to research, falls are “the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. Studies show that the longer an older adult is on the ground after a fall, the greater the chances of serious injury. With a medical alert wearable, a resident can quickly notify staff they need help with the push of a button or a voice-activated command.”
Implementing the use of wearable health monitors can also lead to more independence while living in a senior living facility. The ability to notify caregivers and family members through the monitoring system lessens worry and the need for providers to physically check-in.
By utilizing wearable health monitors, you can keep a close eye on residents' health, intervene when necessary, and provide a sense of security to both residents and their families.
According to the Washington Post, “Between 2020-2022, assisted living facilities lost over 420,000 workers, severely limiting their ability to provide essential services.”
When you pair this with the fact that according to the Healthcare Surfaces Institute, “20-40% of HAI’s (healthcare-associated infections) are attributed to cross-infection at the hands of healthcare workers from touching contaminated surfaces or direct contact with patients,” we begin to see the importance of having the ability to keep a facility clean and the need for a labor force to do it.
Deploying autonomous cleaning equipment not only frees up staff to focus on other important tasks but it helps to increase consistent cleaning since the machines can be deployed multiple times a day. Plus they help increase cleaning productivity.
Remote monitoring and alert systems keep caregivers informed about residents' activities and well-being. These systems can detect unusual patterns, such as prolonged inactivity or deviations from daily routines, and send alerts to caregivers or family members.
The system is linked to a monitoring device the patient wears. Caregivers and health professionals then remotely receive updates regarding a resident’s vitals, such as blood pressure, pulse, and temperature.
In one case, “A remote monitoring system from Docobo, funded by England’s National Health Service and used in 30 nursing homes and 1,600 beds in Black Country, England, led to an 18% reduction in hospital admissions, a 9% reduction in hospital readmissions and a 12% reduction in ambulance trips,” reported McKnight Senior Living.
This proactive approach to care ensures that residents receive immediate attention when needed, improving their overall safety and well-being.
Smart home technology offers seniors greater independence and safety. Devices such as smart thermostats, voice-activated assistants, and motion sensors can be integrated into their living spaces.
These technologies allow seniors to control their environment, stay connected with loved ones, and receive immediate assistance in case of emergencies. This level of independence is a significant selling point for prospective residents and their families.
Smart home technology can also support staff by making it easier for them to be alerted if there is an emergency or problem because they can be notified if there is a change in pattern or behavior in a resident’s room. Responses times can be faster, and the problem could potentially be diagnosed sooner depending on the issue.
Telemedicine has revolutionized the healthcare industry, making it more accessible and convenient for people of all ages, including seniors. By incorporating telemedicine into your senior living community, you can provide residents with easy access to healthcare professionals without the need for frequent trips to the doctor's office which saves them money and can be a safer option.
Being able to have live two-way communication with a healthcare provider from the comfort of a senior living facility can solve issues faster.
According to one source, doctors can provide and patients can achieve a variety of important updates through video calls such as:
• Receiving a diagnosis
• Getting refill authorizations
• Managing long-term conditions
• Discussing pre-op instructions
• Visual examination of rashes or other superficial concerns (source: PatientCalls)
Telemedicine not only enhances the quality of care but also reduces healthcare costs, a factor that is highly appealing to potential residents.
According to a survey of 110 senior living community leaders, conducted by Safe Growth Partners healthcare consulting firm, “85% of respondents agreed that the ability to augment personalized care and provide engaging experiences is one of the most important benefits of technology.”
Providing experiences is perhaps one of the most highly sought out reasons an aging adult may choose a senior living facility. While receiving important medical care and support is important, seniors of the future are also focused on living life to the fullest.
VR and AR technologies have immense potential in supporting senior care. They can be used to provide cognitive stimulation, engage residents in virtual travel experiences, and even help with physical therapy. These immersive technologies can enhance the quality of life for seniors, making your senior living community stand out as a hub of innovation and enrichment.
Incorporating these cutting-edge technologies into your senior living community can significantly improve the care and resources you provide residents. Moreover, these innovations will not only enhance the quality of life for seniors but also make your community more attractive to potential residents and their families. By staying ahead of the curve and embracing technology, you can create a thriving senior living community that offers the best in care, safety, and independence.
ICE Cobotics is a leading technology and floor cleaning equipment company specializing in autonomous solutions and the subscription model. If you’d like to learn more about Cobi 18, contact one of our automation experts.
If you’d like to read more, we suggest: Trends to Attract More Residents to Senior Living Communities