Having all the comforts of home isn’t a new trend in a senior living community, as efforts in recent years have shifted the focus to making senior living settings as homelike as possible. That said, today’s senior generation is accustomed to having easy access to technology such as Wi-Fi, smartphones and tablets, HD televisions with on-demand video, and other technology that many people have in their homes. As such, senior living providers must keep up with the pace of technology to meet the demands of modern seniors who join their communities. Here’s a look at a few current tech trends in senior living communities.
1. Electronic health records are the norm.
Gone are the days of paper progress notes and tattered manila folders holding a resident’s complete medical history. Electronic health records are making staff more efficient and allowing for better coordination of care among providers. As electronic health records become standard industry-wide, antiquated practices, such as faxing patient records to a physician or other healthcare provider, are slowly going by the wayside. But along with the increased use of digital record keeping comes the risk of a data breach.
2. Data breach insurance has become a necessary thing in the senior living industry.
Senior living providers, which handle sensitive resident information and generate protected health data, must comply with HIPAA regulations and maintain strict confidentiality and data protection measures. With more senior living providers maintaining electronic health records, the volume of data obtainable by hackers increases substantially every day. The cost of a data breach is simply too high to risk, and as data breaches become increasingly commonplace, senior living providers are looking to data breach insurance in order to minimize some of the risks in the event of a data breach.
3. Remote monitoring benefits providers and residents alike.
Historically, memory care units have maintained locked units and strictly monitored premises to protect residents who may be prone to wandering. Remote monitoring technology takes the safety of wander-prone residents to a new level, offering alert mechanisms that notify staff the moment a resident has wandered into unsafe territory and provide precise location tracking so that residents may be quickly brought back to safety. The same technology is being used to help seniors maintain their independence in their own homes longer.
4. Wi-Fi everywhere is a must.
Senior living campuses are increasingly providing campus-wide Wi-Fi for both residents and staff. Senior living staffers with ready access to Wi-Fi can communicate rapidly with other staff, order prescriptions and perform a variety of tasks that would otherwise rely on time-consuming phone calls and faxes. For residents, the need for Wi-Fi has never been more clear. Today’s seniors are more tech savvy than ever before, and they demand the ability to continue using their smartphones, laptops, email and social networking services following a move to a senior living community. Anything less is unfathomable to modern seniors.
5. Tech-supported caregiving.
Provider Magazine highlights some of the many tech innovations that are improving the lives of senior living residents everywhere. From sensors that detect soiled incontinence products to predictive analytics models that help healthcare providers predict which residents are likely to develop illnesses or complications, such as pulmonary problems, there are a slew of new technologies that promise to make caring for aging adults simpler and more effective. Some of these innovations are in development, while others are in Beta or being tested or utilized in senior living communities already. In the coming years, we expect to see more widespread, industry-wide adoption of these tech innovations.
It’s an exciting time to work in the senior living field, and seniors who will be making a move to a senior living community in the coming years stand to benefit from new and improved methods of care delivery, more comprehensive services, access to the latest technology tools and gadgets, and so much more.