LeadingAge CAST Debuts Tech Support and Training Guide for Older Adults

PRESS RELEASE | January 26, 2021 | by Lisa Sanders

Resource includes a white paper, interactive guide, and case studies to explain available support, training, and business models

Contact: Lisa Sanders

January 26, 2021 Washington, DC -- Technology’s critical role throughout the coronavirus pandemic in providing older adults with connections to family and friends, as well as with medical and other supportive services, offers valuable learning opportunities on how best to address user needs -- now and in the future.

A timely new resource from LeadingAge’s Center for Aging Services Technology (CAST) offers a wealth of wisdom on the subject, the Resident/Client Technology Support and Training Guide, which includes a white paper, an interactive guide, and four case studies. Free to both LeadingAge members and nonmembers, the guide is a compilation of insights on best practices, how-to’s, tips, and real-life examples from LeadingAge’s nonprofit members, who serve older adults in a variety of settings, including senior living communities.

“The pandemic has shown us how crucial access to technology and tech-enabled services is to ensuring older adults’ well-being,” said Majd Alwan, Ph.D., Executive Director, LeadingAge CAST. “Technology can literally be a life saver, whether used for staying in touch with loved ones, or as a tool to access medical care via telehealth. Providers’ challenge is to provide services proactively, in ways that best meet residents' needs and are financially feasible. This new CAST resource will help providers understand and assess options for providing much needed tech support, education, and/or training to older residents and clients.”

The guide’s white paper covers a range of topics, from the benefits of offering tech support, training, and education, to insights on available business models, as well as advice on calculating return-on-investment of such services. Read the white paper here.

Four LeadingAge members share their experiences in creating and implementing tech support and training programs, along with helpful ‘lessons learned.’ Links to the guide’s case studies are below:

  • Onsite Hybrid Paid and Free Amenity Program
    • Acts Retirement-Life Communities a LeadingAge CAST Patron, implemented on-site support and a toll-free hotline, which completed 3,235 requests across 10,000 residents in the program’s first full year. Maintenance and security staff are now free from technology requests. Requests for mobile smart device support to stay in contact with family members have surged.
  • Outsourcing Resident Technology Support and Training During COVID-19
    • Vi at La Jolla Village contracted with Candoo Tech to offer a 90-day pilot program of virtual tech support. After the 2020 pilot, 89% of residents said they would refer Candoo to a friend, and 90% rated their satisfaction overall as excellent.
  • Supporting Residents’ Technology through In-House Programs
    • Cypress Living, of LeadingAge CAST Patron Cypress Living, developed an in-house program that provides resident tech support and incorporates several audio-visual related service functions. Technology use has increased from 40 residents to well over 200 in five years. The program offsets approximately half of the cost of its personnel through resident tech support billing.
    • HumanGood this LeadingAge CAST Patron used its own local IT administrators, supported by an offshore helpdesk service and a new service management system, to provide tech support requests and classes. The pilot began in February 2019, and after its first three months, resident satisfaction increased by an average of 3%, and after six months, it rose over 17%. HumanGood has expanded the service to all 18 communities. Although a revamped program, RTSS 2.0, slated for an April 2020 rollout was postponed due to the pandemic, HumanGood has continued providing help by increasing one-on-one support for residents—particularly with hundreds of requests for assistance in downloading Zoom and telemedicine apps.