As senior living facilities explore the best technologies for their residents, an upcoming luxury community in Manhattan provides inspiration. Maplewood Senior Living’s Inspir Carnegie Hill, a $300 million community, will include a technology suite called Alli. It will include smart-home tech such as Amazon’s Alexa, virtual reality, and fall-detection capabilities.
 
Senior Housing News shared a recent interview with Brian Geyser, chief clinical officer for the Inspir brand and Maplewood’s vice president of clinical innovation and population health. The full interview is on the SHN Transform podcast, available on Soundcloud, Apple iTunes, and Google Play. Highlights are below.

Recent Technology Investments

Maplewood has made a significant investment in its infrastructure—the technology backbone with Wi-Fi—to make sure it can support the new devices that will be on its network.
 
With a strong interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart apartment technology, team members are working with Amazon and other companies to nail down how they deliver voice-enabled technology to their specific population. They are also focusing on how to modify a consumer-based product like Alexa so that it works for their population, families, and staff.
 
Another focus for Maplewood is connectivity—between residents and the outside world, their families, and staff.

Integrating Amazon Alexa in Inspir

At Inspir, the ability for residents to use voice to access staff is critical. A resident will be able to say, “Alexa, call the concierge” and gain direct access to concierge services, 24/7.
 
Inspir is working with some companies on enabling artificial intelligence through Alexa. That way, Alexa can understand the residents’ intent and route the resident’s request to the correct team member. This smart approach is more efficient than a call pendant, which summons a member of the care team even if the resident only needs to fix a lamp.

Alli Tech Suite

A variety of different technologies are in the Alli suite, so named because technology is Inspir’s ally. Alli includes everything from virtual reality to Alexa-enabled care concierge to digital interactive programs to live-streaming adult education programming.
 
“When a product makes it into the Alli suite, we have tested it, we feel that it’s beneficial, and it integrates into the whole Inspir mission,” said Geyser.

Commitment to Virtual Reality

Maplewood brought virtual reality (VR) across its entire portfolio and added it to the lifestyle platform about one and one-half years ago.
 
Now Maplewood is using it for entertainment and on a therapeutic level, for people with dementia doing reminiscence therapy. The team also is experimenting with using VR for physical therapy. Residents move around while experiencing their virtual world. They work on core strength, flexibility, and range of motion, without even realizing they’re doing it.
 
“A lot of residents don’t really enjoy physical therapy, but this makes it fun and enjoyable,” said Geyser.

Coming Tech Trends

Geyser and Inspir look to voice and IoT as important coming trends. “But I think beyond that, the one place that has amazing promise is passive monitoring technology,” said Geyser. “I see a future where the apartment itself, perhaps robotics, artificial intelligence, can help us know that a resident is all right. And when a resident is not, the resident won’t even necessarily have to tell us that. The apartment itself will tell us that…. I think that’s a really exciting space, and I’m looking forward to companies that can solve that problem in our industry.”

Read more excerpts and listen to the interview.