Few industries are as dependent on personal relationships as senior living. That’s because maintaining the physical and emotional health of older adults requires a wide range of skills and services that goes far beyond medical care. Senior living communities go the extra mile, not only to make sure that residents are healthy, but also to provide a fulfilling living experience. Data will play a leading role in helping operators deliver the best experience possible.
Data leads to personalized caregiving
Many people see technology as a “sterile” approach to care for older adults. After all, how can computers and algorithms possibly provide the same level of personal attention that caring staff members offer every day? In fact, the ability to collect and analyze data from multiple sources has proven to be a major asset. Technology enables caregivers to know as much as possible about residents and provide higher levels of support. Artificial intelligence can empower staff to flag potential issues early on and take steps to prevent them from becoming serious problems.
In his blog series about the key drivers shaping the future of senior living, Robert Kramer, NIC CO-Founder and Strategic Advisor writes, “Senior living providers need a tech platform to capture data and deploy predictive analytics to create customized solutions. It’s these customized solutions that will drive real value for investors, owners, operators and customers.”
New ways to gather data
The traditional approach to collecting data has required manually inputting information on everything from resident behavior to nutrition data to medications, but advances in senior living technology are giving operators unprecedented access to real-time information that has historically been difficult to track.
Beyond senior living software, the use of commonly available wearables and voice-powered assistants like Alexa can help residents stick to healthy routines, improve safety, and prevent serious health situations, and they also give caregivers a powerful way to collect and use detailed data about resident behavior in a non-invasive way. Ali Sareea, Chief Technology Officer at Aline, says that wearables are going to be a large part of the future of assisted living, and so are voice-controlled personal assistants like Alexa and Google Home. “As you age, it’s harder to navigate with your fingers, but your voice still stays pretty strong. The more you can interact with your voice, the easier it is to control your environment.”
Data is the window to better resident care
Data can profoundly improve every aspect of a resident’s living experience from healthcare to socialization. “Everybody knows that healthcare is going more and more digital,” says Sareea. “Data gives you the ability not just to manage information within your four walls but to know what’s going on at all times and be able to exchange that data electronically, not just for operations but within the community.”
One of the most difficult problems that seniors face whether living at home or in a community is isolation. Although senior living operators provide a wide range of community activities ranging from meals to group outings to game nights, residents who are feeling anxious or depressed often limit their participation and avoid venturing out of their rooms. The physical and emotional effects of this are profound: according to Consumer Affairs, the risk of stroke, heart disease and mental health issues increases by more than 25% for seniors who are isolated. The good news is that data can play a key role in determining which residents require extra care and encouragement when it comes to interactions with other people.
It is often difficult for professionals to get an accurate picture of who is participating in activities and who is not. This is where the use of software and wearables that track activity, is transforming how senior living facilities can get real-time information on resident behavior and gauge the success of their programming. Staff can monitor these devices to figure out who isn’t getting in enough steps and who is spending too much time by themselves, who is attending activities and even what menu options are most popular. And they don’t have to wait weeks or months to act. Staff can look at a reporting dashboard and take immediate action to help isolated residents by offering to take them on walks, inviting them to group activities, or making sure they eat in the dining room rather than in their own rooms.
The assisted living software of the future will utilize the information gathered through wearables and other interactive tools to analyze everything from resident participation, socialization, and preferences to medication usage, staff efficiency, and the profitability of each location and program. This data will help owners and operators of senior living facilities develop best practices not only for resident care, but for their overall operations.
Take compliance for example. Technology enables automatic data collection for built-in compliance. According to Sareea, “Regulatory compliance will follow automatically because the technology will enable you to capture the records, take the precautions, and handle the tasks you need to on a timely basis. Then it doesn’t matter when the regulator shows up, because you’ll have all your records in order.”
To learn more about how Aline can help your senior living community achieve a higher level of performance, get a free demo.
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