Resident Technology in Assisted Living Communities
Technological advances in the past couple of decades have been amazing. This particularly is the case when it comes to communication. As a result of the fast-forward of the digital communications age, attention is paid to how technology can be of assistance and benefit to people residing in assisted living communities. In this article, we discuss specific ways in which technology improves the lives of women and men in assisted living communities:
- Community-wide internet access
- Enhanced safety
- Improved quality of care
- Communicating with family and friends
- Life enrichment
- Intellectual stimulation
Community-Wide Internet Access
As senior Americans heading into assisted living communities are more tech savvy with each passing year, the importance of community-wide internet access cannot be understated. In this day and age, readily accessible internet access is a standard feature of virtually all assisted living communities.
Through community-wide internet access, a resident of an assisted living community is able to do everything from staying in touch with family and friends to accessing medical care (both of which are discussed elsewhere in this article. Because internet access really is a fundamental necessity, it typically is part of an assisted living community’s accoutrements at no additional cost to residents.
One of the primary ways in which technology is vital in a 21st century assisted living community is because it enhances resident safety and security. This is accomplished on a number of crucial fronts that include:
- Virtually instantaneous connection to emergency medical personnel
- Premises protection for a more vulnerable segment of the community
- Rapid response within a facility in the event of an emergency
- Around-the-clock facility safety and security monitoring
- Customized monitoring for individual residents
Improved Quality of Care
Technology in assisted living communities also contributes to improved care, including enhanced medical care. Examples of the way in which this occurs include:
- Telehealth appointments are readily available. Telemedicine is being used with ever increasing frequency
- Alexa is being used more and more in assisted living communities
- Electronic medical records
- Tracking vital signs
- Providing backup for administering medications
Communicating With Family and Friends
Technology in assisted living communities is also extremely helpful in assisting residents keep in regular contact with family and friends. Technology proved particularly helpful during the COVD-19 pandemic.
Even though we appear to be getting beyond the pandemic, the technology that became crucial during that challenging time period remain in wide use, including in assisted living and other types of long-term facilities and centers. Technology like Zoom and Facetime are supplementing face to face visits between family members. Consequently, this type of technology is expected to remain a major component in regard to life in an assisted living community today and into the future.
The Elder Care Alliance sums up the value of technology for communicating with family and friends:
Chatting via video provides an experience that is more intimate than a simple phone call, and it allows residents to experience family milestones (including birthdays, school performances, graduations and weddings) firsthand.
While residents of assisted living community typically have access to a spectrum of different types of entertainment activities, events, and programs, a typical individual residing in such a setting also likes to spend time enjoying such things as television programs and films. Thanks to the latest technology, a wide world of customizable entertainment options are available to residents of assisted living communities. These include entertainment options that can be enjoyed individually, with another resident or guest, or even in a group setting.
Older individuals are also coming to enjoy digital games with increasing regularity. Games not only provide entertainment for people living in assisted living communities they can also be helpful in memory enhancement and assisting in staving off certain types of brain degeneration.
Technology in assisted living is also proving invaluable when it comes to life enrichment programming of all types. Examples of life enrichment activities for residents of assisted living that can prove beneficial include:
- Learning opportunities
- Music lessons
- Art classes
- Memory enhancement programs
- And many other different types of programs
Technology in assisted living communities is proving useful in providing residents with opportunities to engage in activities that provide mental or intellectual stimulation. Engaging in these types of activities are understood to not only keep older individuals mentally engaged but have benefits in reducing the risk of or delaying the onset of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Looking into the future of technology in assisted living communities, technology will continue to play an important and evolving role. Moreover, technology will continue to expand its presence in other types of long-term care facilities as well. Particular attention is being paid to ways in which technology can improve the lives of people living in memory centers and their family and friends.