Technology has significantly altered the way we live and communicate, and this holds true for residents in senior living communities. Offering resident technology support is now essential to meet residents’ needs and expectations. According to a recent Ziegler CFO Hotline spending survey, 40% of respondents now offer technology support, up from 29% two years prior. There are various reasons why technology support is critical for the residents in senior living communities, including the following:
- Increased Use of Technology by Residents: Residents today are more technologically savvy than ever before, and they expect technology to be a part of their daily lives. Many residents are using technology to stay connected with friends and family, access information and services, and manage their health and wellness. Five years ago, having one to two tech devices was typical, but now it is common for residents to own triple that number.
- More Digital Services and Information: In senior living communities, technology support helps residents stay connected to important services, activities, and information. This includes the ability to view community events, schedule appointments, purchase groceries, and pay bills. The support helps older adults effectively use technology to manage their health and wellness, stay organized, and access the services and information necessary for a fulfilling life.
- Reduce Staff Burden/Workload: Organizations that do not have a formal support and training structure will often end up relying on multiple staff members to fulfill the residents’ technology needs. Often a social worker, maintenance staff, or IT staff member provides support. As a result, it is hard to tell how much support and training staff is providing. A more formal process will help providers manage staff resources and workload and understand the residents’ technology needs.
- Staying Connected with Friends and Family: A primary benefit of providing technology support is to enable older adults to use technology to connect with loved ones. Social isolation is considered both a risk factor for and a result of depression. Technology can help residents stay connected through video calls, social media, and other forms of communication, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation. This is especially important for older adults who may have difficulty getting out and about, or who live far away from their loved ones.
Thankfully, technology support is becoming more common in senior living communities and is helping residents live their best life, no matter their age.
Ready to start a resident technology program? First, consider these key questions:
- What are the residents’ needs and expectations for technology support?
- What technology solutions are currently in use in the community and how well are they serving the residents?
- How will you manage and maintain the resident technology program?
- How will the residents receive training and support for the technology solutions provided?
- What is the full range of technology support services that you can provide?
- What privacy and security measures will you use to protect the residents’ information?
- What is the expected return on investment for the resident technology program?
- How will you evaluate and improve the resident technology program over time?
Answering these questions and reviewing the CAST Resident/Client Technology Guide and case studies will help ensure that your resident technology program is well-planned, well-executed, and serves your residents well.