How Resident Engagement Tech Promotes Social and Physical Wellness in Senior Living
Social well-being is an integral part of senior living residents’ health and vitality.
But too often, social programming can be a logistical nightmare. It’s a lot of work to plan and execute community events, and it can be even harder to effectively publicize them to residents. Bulletin boards, flyers, and word-of-mouth announcements are easy to miss or forget about, especially for residents with memory loss.
As a result, your community might not reach the engagement level you’re hoping for.
The good news is that technology is making it easier for staff and administrators to share programming with their communities. Digital community engagement platforms create opportunities for more in-person connections, as well as greater visibility of residents’ day-to-day activities for staff and family members.
If you’re considering bringing community engagement tech to your senior living community, read on for how these tools can improve wellness.
How Tech Puts Senior Living Resident Engagement in Residents’ Hands
The traditional manual channels for spreading the word about community programming require a lot of staff time and energy. And unfortunately, they’re not always effective.
That’s where tech comes in. Community and Resident engagement platforms digitize your community’s social calendars and announcements so that no flyers or verbal updates get lost in the shuffle. These portals can be accessed via smartphones, tablets, or even voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa. This means there won’t be a daunting learning curve for new staff or resident users.
In other words, these tools give residents more agency to engage with community activities in a way that makes the most sense for them.
But wait – aren’t Millennials the tech-savvy generation? It turns out that technology use is increasing among the Silent Generation, or adults aged 74 to 91. According to a survey from Pew Research Center, roughly one-third of adults in this age group now own smartphones or computers and use social media.
Plus, Baby Boomers are beginning to make the transition into senior living – and these adults are even more tech-forward than their predecessors. According to the same survey, nearly 70 percent of this age group owns a smartphone.
This tech also has a bonus advantage for preventing CN turnover: Millennial workers weigh a company’s technology use highly when considering a job, so this tech can boost staff recruitment and retention.
Some community engagement tech platforms also offer a social media feature for residents. Think of it as a Facebook for senior living – on the same portal, residents can find more opportunities to connect with fellow residents and share their interests with their community.
Of course, it’s important to be mindful that no tech solution is one-size-fits-all – the best tech upgrades will be those that personalize and customize systems according to your community’s needs and that incorporate consistent feedback from your residents and staff.
Community Engagement Tech Streamlines Personalized Care
Let’s return to the assertion that tech platforms can streamline social and wellness programming. More efficient community planning through tech can also strengthen caregiving and make staffs’ lives a little easier.
These platforms can offer actionable insights on residents’ preferences for social and wellness activities that give staff more visibility into resident profiles, which enables them to deliver more personalized care. Coupled with an electronic health record (EHR) system that stores residents’ clinical information, this technology can paint an accurate and holistic picture of a resident’s health.
For instance, you can track a resident’s multiple dimensions of wellness, as defined by the National Institutes of Health, based on their activity attendance. Perhaps a resident has attended several social events recently, but not many physically stimulating events. Staff can use this information to reflect on how to help that resident develop a social and fitness schedule that best serves their unique wellness goals.
This means staff can spend more time delivering meaningful care to residents, and less time organizing activity schedules.
Engagement Tech Boosts Physical & Mental Wellness
Social wellness and physical health are closely linked. Research from the NIH has found a correlation between social isolation and loneliness and a host of poor health outcomes, including cognitive decline, depression, and heart disease.
This is why an easy-to-navigate, widely accessible engagement platform is so crucial: a person’s sense of community hinges their access to effective communication. The more residents, staff, and family members stay in the loop, the more connection – and the more peace of mind (and body) – everyone feels.
If you’re interested in how community engagement tech can benefit your community, talk to us about our community engagement solution.