Applying for Senior Living Tech Grants: A Step-by-Step Guide
Technology has countless benefits in senior living. And it’s becoming par for the course: senior living operators’ tech spend has skyrocketed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating the industry’s decisive step toward the digital future.
But what if you want to ramp up tech usage in your community, and you’re not sure if you have the budget to do so?
Finances don’t need to be an obstacle. There are all kinds of grants available for senior living technology initiatives – you just need to know where to look and how to apply.
Read on for our tips on how to secure tech grants for your senior living community.
1: Identify the Problems You Want to Solve with Technology
It’s helpful to have a clear idea of who in your community will be using the technology, for what purpose, and roughly how much it will cost, even if you don’t yet have a detailed implementation plan.
This may require some research around senior living technology solutions. Are you interested in hardware, like VR headsets or tablets? Or are you interested in software, like an EHR system or a resident engagement platform?
Some senior living tech grants have broad parameters, while others are tailored to more specific use cases. Knowing what you want to accomplish and how will help you refine your search – and save you time applying for grants that wouldn’t have been a good fit anyway.
2: Browse Available Grants to Hone Your Proposal
Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve with technology, see what kinds of senior living tech grants are out there to further develop your proposal idea and scope. Most grant websites have lists of past recipients to give you a sense of whether your organization would be a suitable applicant.
To help you get started on your search, check out these reliables resources:
- Leading Age has a list of various regional and case-specific grants. Examples include The Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation, which funds a range of projects that cover aging, arts, education, and social services in New York City, and The Austin-Bailey Health and Wellness Foundation, which supports programs that enhance the physical well-being of older adults in Northeast Ohio.
- The Consumer Technology Association has over a dozen associated technology grants aimed at improving the lives of seniors and people with disabilities.
- Grantwatch, a free grant database, has all kinds of regional grants for senior services. You can also filter for geographic location, funding source, and recipient type.
- Instrumentl, a grant aggregator site for nonprofits, is a paid service that can help you identify tech grants for seniors. It also has several listed here that you can view for free.
You may need to revise your goals after some browsing, but don’t until you’ve looked through all kinds of grant programs. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of funding opportunities of all sizes for aging services – chances are there’s one that’s closely aligned with what you want to accomplish.
3: When You Apply, Make a Clear Case for How Your Community Will Benefit from Technology
To make your application as compelling as possible, write a detailed and thorough grant proposal letter. This will take some time and thought about your community and its needs, but we can provide some high-level advice:
- Focus on stakeholder impact. While there may certainly be additional operational and financial benefits of a senior living technology initiative, make sure your application centers on how tech can improve the lives of your residents, staff, or family members.
- Be realistic. Your proposal should outline feasible and measurable changes you hope to accomplish, such as greater resident social engagement or staff efficiency, not adding 10 years to residents’ life expectancy.
- Specify the type of technology you’re interested in. While some grants are for specific technology solutions like Amazon Alexa, many are open-ended and rely on the applicant to identify what the funding will go toward. Explain the device or software you want to introduce to your community.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has some guidelines for writing research grant proposals that are helpful for any type of grant writing and can help you structure your letter.
Finally, know that some grants are more competitive than others, which you can gauge based on the size of the grant and the reputation of the funding source. Much like applying to college, you’ll want to apply to several “safety” grants in addition to one or two “dream” grants.
Senior Living Tech Grants Make Better Outcomes for Community Stakeholders Possible
The senior living industry is on track to go digital in the next few years. Technology will be a major differentiator for operators as today’s tech-savvy older adults and their families search for senior living communities to call home.
Don’t let budget concerns stand in the way of technology initiatives that can transform the health and well-being of your community. It’ll take some work to apply, but winning a grant will pay its dividends in your community over the years to come.