August 03, 2021

Use Case
5 min

Leverage Smart Technology to Enhance the Senior Care Experience

Smart technology innovations can enhance the senior care experience for both residents and staff and keep your community competitive when it comes to recruitment.

What's Inside

Smart technology innovations can enhance the senior care experience for both residents and staff and help your organization maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.  For older residents (those in the “silent generation”), smart technology at senior care providers can automate processes and allow caregivers to more quickly help residents in need. For younger residents, smart technology can play a pivotal role in boosting occupancy rates. When potential residents consider where they might move or retire, they’ll look to see if senior living communities offer the same technology they’re accustomed to in their own homes. From both the care side and the hospitality side, leveraging smart technology is becoming essential for making sure your senior care community remains current and competitive. CDW Senior Care technology expert Jessica Longly shares why smart home technology is so important. 

Use Smart Technology Solutions to Improve Quality of Care

Smart technology can now play a pivotal role when it comes to providing quality care at a senior facility. As Longly explains, smart home technologies can improve workflows and give caregivers better visibility into what’s happening within the organization.

Smart technology can automate processes to notify staff when residents need assistance and improve communication between caregivers and residents. For example, traditional alert systems within senior living apartments usually require residents to pull a cord or press a button within their living space to alert staff that they need assistance. In turn, that notification turns on a light at the caregivers’ station.

With smart technology, residents can now use voice assistant technology, such as Aiva Health’s Amazon Alexa-based solution, within their units to alert staff that they need help. Caregivers will receive those alerts in real-time and can choose to either send a recorded audio message back to the resident using an app or choose an automated response.

This provides a great experience for residents because they know that their requests have been heard and that caregiving staff have been notified of their needs. For staff, this means they have an immediate understanding of resident issues and can also triage based on the messages they receive from residents. That way, caregivers know right away if a resident might need urgent medical attention or if it’s a non-urgent request, such as difficulty with a television remote. 

Survey Residents and Staff to Assess Willingness to Adopt Smart Technology

When it comes to effective smart technology implementation, surveying residents and staff to assess readiness is key. Longly explains that the first step when implementing smart home technology within a senior care community is not diving right in. Rather, it’s making sure that residents and staff are open to the smart technology experience.

From the resident perspective, Longly explains that it’s key to understand if residents are eager to embrace smart technology in their living spaces. It’s also critical to gather a baseline understanding of residents’ familiarity with technology and surveying their specific desires.

From the staff perspective, this involves asking about how they would like to see technology implemented in day-to-day workflows and how it can be helpful in improving care. Longly adds that at this stage, it’s also critical to identify key stakeholders on the senior care staff who are willing to participate in a smart technology pilot. While working with a partner like CDW can help streamline the implementation of smart technology in a senior care provider, residents will also look to individuals they know within the organization to help them with their day-to-day technology questions.

Assessing organizational readiness from both the resident and staff side is important before launching into any smart technology solutions for your senior living community. This can provide your organization with a roadmap and a reasonable scope for technology implementation, and it ensures that you’re making the most of your investment.

For many organizations, Longly recommends enterprise-grade solutions that can supplement lean IT staffs within senior living communities and provide facilities with more insight into their technology investments. Enterprise-grade solutions provide a holistic view of your organization’s smart technology and can automate the troubleshooting process.

Investing in an enterprise-grade solution can help ease the burden on staff and ensures your organization is not dependent on residents always alerting you about issues. Instead, these kinds of solutions can automatically send notices if devices are down or in need of repair. 

Leverage Smart Technology to Win Over New Residents

Having the right smart technology in place is now table-stakes for recruiting new senior care residents. Longly shared that the main competition when it comes to a potential resident’s decision to move to a senior care community is not other communities. Rather, it’s the potential resident’s ability to assess if a community can offer the same benefits and comfort as home.

For the younger generation of older adults who are considering a move, having the right smart technology is essential. Longly adds having a model smart home apartment can be a particularly powerful sales and marketing tool. She says this will allow prospective residents to experience the technology as if they lived in the community.

Thinking about technology as part of the new resident experience is also key. Longly suggests having senior care organizations incorporate a kind of technology concierge role for the move-in process. This is paramount for younger seniors who will be eager to pick right back up with the [JL1] technology they were accustomed to in their previous homes. 

“Part of the move-in process is the on-site tech concierge, or somebody who's well versed in technology, is going to walk you through all of your tech setup making sure that you're comfortable,” Longly explains. “Your internet's working appropriately. You know your Wi-Fi password. What an amazing experience that is when you're already nervous coming into a new place, where you may not know a lot of people and have someone walking you through and making sure that your tech is good.”

Because smart technology will only become more pervasive, it’s increasingly important for senior care leaders to think about how that fits into their offerings in order to stay competitive and continue attracting new residents.

As Longly says, “It's taking it to another level of customer service and welcoming them into the community. And technology is not going away.” 

Make the Most of Smart Technology in Senior Care When You Partner with CDW

Whether you’re just now considering how smart technology fits into a senior care community, you’re curious about piloting a smart technology program at your organization, or you’re ready to go all in with an enterprise-grade solution, CDW is here to help. We can partner with your senior care organization no matter where you are along your journey and incorporate smart technology into your operations.