Focusing on technology for resident independence and confidence

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Sean Slovenski
Sean Slovenski

“Home” can mean a variety of different places for older adults — a senior living community, a guesthouse belonging to their children, or the same house they've lived in for 20 years. Regardless of where they live, our nation's older adults want more independence and more personalized care.

Because of this demand for independence from residents and their family members, the senior living and assisted living industry is becoming more comfortable with technology that improves facilities' operations, as well as quality of care. In fact, more than 90% of the largest non-profit senior living providers have adopted some form of technology, according to the LeadingAge Ziegler 100 Technology Adoption and Utilization Survey. The time is now for the senior living industry to use technology as a means to be more connected to residents, care providers, and family members.

The pressure from residents and the market for senior living providers to deliver more health services and prevent injuries and complication from common conditions, like undetected UTIs, is increasing and will be a key factor in a senior living community's success. Solutions like smart sensor technology can learn resident movement patterns and detect and notify a professional caregiver if something out of the ordinary occurs. For example, if this technology notices a resident going to the restroom more than usual in the middle of the night, the system will flag a professional caregiver to check on the resident because those frequent bathroom visits could indicate a UTI, or put the resident at a higher risk of falling due to navigating through the dark in a groggy state. The information gathered from monitoring solutions can help caregivers be in the right place at the right time, improving efficiency and quality of care.

Senior living providers are also actively adopting EMR/EHR systems to streamline resident care needs (75%, according to the LeadingAge Ziegler survey). While these systems are typically used on the back end with no resident interaction, this kind of technology can tremendously improve resident experiences by allowing an enhanced person-centered approach, interdisciplinary communication, and resident care coordination.

Increased technology adoption can lead to positive feedback from residents and their loved ones because technology can provide an unbiased view of a resident's health, and offers added reassurance that the senior will be safe and engaged with their community. For residents, technology can allow them to live independently while simultaneously increasing their sense of security, improving the care they receive, and connecting them with friends, family, and caregivers.

As an industry, we must continue this upward trend of technology adoption in the name of resident confidence and independence. Soon, more and more care will be delivered in the home, and technology adoption will put senior living providers in a better position to shift their business models to provide some services beyond the walls of a senior community.

Sean Slovenski is the CEO of Intel-GE Care Innovations.

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