Popular Tech in Centers for Healthy Living (CHL)

 

Centers for healthy living (CHL) have become quite popular in the senior housing industry. The purpose of a CHL is to bridge the gap between senior living and healthcare. These centers enrich the lives of residents by promoting mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. A CHL might be a single center within a community, or simply a collection of programs. The emphasis is on whole person wellness. Technology is playing an increasing role in the success of CHL. Here are a few of the popular tech innovations being implemented in these centers.

First, let’s examine the holistic nature of centers for healthy living. While physical activity is certainly an important part of well-being, there are actually eight dimensions of wellness which a CHL operator takes into consideration.

  1. Spiritual
  2. Intellectual
  3. Emotional
  4. Physical
  5. Financial
  6. Occupational
  7. Environmental
  8. Social

Tech in CHL

Key Fob

Also referred to as a smart key, a key fob is a small programmable gadget that provides access to a physical device. In CHL environments, it is typically used in conjunction with exercise equipment. It allows residents to track their workout progress and create individualized exercise plans.

Wearables

These highly engaging devices encourage seniors to focus on health and wellness. They track physical activity and can even communicate with physicians to share applicable data. Residents become more accountable for their own health and may enjoy a bit of friendly competition. Wearable devices are typically small and inconspicuous. The FitBit is probably the most popular among seniors because it is extremely user-friendly and has numerous practical features.

Community AI

Voice activated; community-specific artificial intelligence is being implemented to assist residents with information about the events and activities within the community. For example, a resident might ask, “What time is yoga class tomorrow?” Or, “What is on the menu for dinner this evening?” The AI ties directly into a community database. This technology is incredibly useful to residents, as they can simply speak their questions and receive quick, concise answers. Amazon Alexa and Google home devices are the two most commonly used AI assistance.  Placing these devices in common areas throughout a community allows residents easy access to information.

Educational Applications

Keeping the mind active is an essential part of wellness. Education programs utilizing cutting-edge technologies are making a significant impact on seniors. These programs include virtual field trips, real-time tours, and distance-learning classrooms. The tech involved incorporates high-speed Internet access, high-definition televisions, apps on smart devices, and sometimes even virtual reality glasses.

Some senior living communities offer CHL services to individuals living in the surrounding neighborhoods. This provides some extra revenue and more opportunities for residents to socialize with the wider community. With people becoming more health conscious, it’s no surprise that the CHL movement has taken hold in senior care. The benefits of a whole person approach to wellness are too numerous to count. Hopefully, the trend toward a fit lifestyle will continue, allowing seniors to enjoy longer, happier, and healthier lives.

 

5 High-Tech Gift Ideas for Seniors

 

When you imagine gifts for seniors, your first inclination is probably not a high-tech gadget. However, there are a number of devices that can make a meaningful difference in the lives of aged individuals. Technology has far surpassed the days of simple cell phones with giant buttons for older adults. The products available today include cutting-edge technologies that are truly useful. Here are a few great high-tech gift ideas for the seniors in your life.

Digital Personal Assistant – AI

These voice activated devices are equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) technology. They can help with reminders, answering questions, controlling household items, playing games, and so much more. In some cases, they even act as a sort of digital companion, providing conversation and preventing loneliness. The three most popular personal assistants are:

  • Amazon Echo Alexa – There are several devices that incorporate this AI. It is directly attached to a person’s Amazon account, making online shopping very simple. It is not the most conversational device, but is great for people who use Amazon’s services.

Tech Gift Ideas for Seniors

  • Google Assistant – There are three devices at various price points that utilize Google’s AI. This is the most conversational personal assistant and works with Google’s services. The app to control this device must be installed in a phone or tablet, unlike the Amazon products, which are “stand alone” devices.

Tech Gift Ideas for Seniors

  • Siri – This personal assistant is only available on Apple products. It is the most limited of all the AIs. However, if your loved one is an avid Apple user, Siri does have some interesting features.

Smart Home Devices

Many smart home devices are integrated with digital personal assistants. This allows an individual to voice-activate devices for the home. A person with mobility or vision problems may have difficulty performing tasks like adjusting the thermostat or lights. With voice activation, a person can simply speak a command, and the device will comply. For example, you could say, “turn the heat up to 74°” which would trigger the smart thermostat to adjust the temperature. Smart home gadgets require some mildly complex initial setup procedures. You will probably need a tech-savvy person to get everything ready for your loved one to begin using these products.  

Tile Tracker

These little gadgets are perfect for anyone who tends to lose important items. Simply place one of these tiles in or on an object and use your phone to locate it. You can stick it on a set of keys or slide it into a wallet. They are small, inconspicuous tiles that are easy to use.

Digital Photo Frame

Load a digital photo frame with pictures of grandchildren and relatives. You can update and change the photos over time, keeping your loved one up-to-date on the latest family pictures. This gift is a favorite among grandparents.

E-book Reader

We no longer need to haul around big bulky books. The avid reader in your life can simply download a book and read it on their e-book device. The most popular e-reader is the Amazon Kindle. The Nook by Barnes & Noble is another commonly used device. They are both similar in functionality. It’s simply a matter of whether you prefer to purchase your books from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. E-readers can be especially good for seniors with vision issues including macular degeneration as the print size can be enlarged significantly. Most public libraries now offer a wide variety of e-books that can be easily downloaded onto the e-reader.

 

 Tech gifts are not just for young people. Adults of all ages can benefit from innovative devices. Consider a high-tech gift this holiday season when you’re shopping for the seniors in your life.

 

UV Light Disinfection Systems for Senior Housing

Senior Housing TechDisinfection is an important factor in the operation of senior care communities. It is particularly crucial in skilled nursing facilities where residents are prone to illness. Harsh chemical cleaning agents are no longer ideal for sanitizing. Health care facilities are adopting ultraviolet light systems to assist with disinfection requirements.

Why is disinfection important?

Proper cleaning is necessary to prevent the spread of various illnesses and diseases. Not only is it essential for the residents, but it also helps protect caregivers who work with high-risk and sick individuals.

What is UV disinfection?

Ultraviolet light is invisible to the human eye. The sun emits large amounts of this light, but most of it is absorbed by Earth’s ozone layer. Such light has the capacity to kill bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Exposing air, water, and surfaces to UV light has proven to eliminate dangerous microorganisms. A recent study provides an interesting insight into this process.

Advantages

  •         Deactivates microorganisms within seconds
  •         Environmentally friendly, having no dangerous byproducts or chemicals
  •         Reliable
  •         Cost-effective
  •         Low maintenance, easy to use

Disadvantages

  •         Adaptation – The primary drawback of UV disinfection is that cells can evolve and adapt to this type of irradiation. It is a complex process, and research is being performed to help prevent and understand it.
  •         Shadow areas – UV light disinfection works by line of sight. This means that if an object is blocked from the light, it will not be affected. It is commonly referred to as the shadow effect. It can be overcome by moving the light source or objects so that adequate UV rays reach the intended areas.

Safety

Humans should not be exposed to UV light. It can damage eyes and skin. People cannot be in a room while it is being cleaned with an ultraviolet light source. The light cannot penetrate glass, so it is possible to observe a UV sanitation system through a window or glass door.

 

Does UV disinfection kill all microorganisms?

The answer to this question really depends on the exact UV wavelengths and the amount of exposure . Some microorganisms are difficult to deactivate and require longer amounts of time exposed to the UV light source. Additionally, certain bacteria are only killed by specific wavelengths. That being said, with the correct UV light source, most bacteria, viruses, and protozoa can be eradicated. This includes C difficile, commonly known to be difficult to kill. On the other hand, UV disinfection does not damage staff, also known as MRSA.

 

Intelligent room UV disinfection systems

Because people cannot be in the room while it is being disinfected with UV light, these systems utilize autonomous robots. Several companies manufacture these devices. It takes approximately 15 minutes for a robot to disinfect a room. The robots navigate the space to reduce the impact of the shadow effect. They also have the ability to focus on germ hot spots like sinks and high-traffic surfaces.

UV disinfection may not eliminate the need for traditional cleaning; most experts agree that this procedure is best used in combination with conventional disinfection methods. As research continues, and as we learn more about the potential of UV light, we likely will see more of these systems being implemented in the senior care industry.

 

Examining Software Solutions for Assisted Living Communities

Assisted Living CommunitiesThere is no shortage of software solutions for the senior living industry. In fact, there are so many choices, it may become overwhelming. Some of these systems offer much-needed support and truly improve the quality of care. With such a wide variety of applications available, it is crucial to select the right one for the job. This is a challenging decision when faced with countless options. So, here we will evaluate some popular software solutions useful in assisted-living communities.   

ALIS

Known for being user friendly, this is a comprehensive software suite created specifically to meet the demands of assisted-living communities. It provides consistent and accurate information across all areas with the use of modules that are in constant communication.

Features:

  • Medication Tracking
  • New Resident Assessment
  • Admissions Management
  • Resident Information Management
  • Staff Management
  • Scheduling
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Care Planning
  • Medical Records
  • Incident Management
  • Building Maintenance

Sagely

This healthcare tech company is highly focused on resident-centered care. Their priority is to help communities provide mental, physical, social, and emotional support to residents. The sagely systems track resident’s level of engagement, calendars, participation, and activities.

Features:

  • Care Planning
  • New Resident Assessment
  • Resident Info Management
  • Scheduling
iCare Manager

Concentrated on risk reduction, this software is heavily weighted toward medication management and integrates with many pharmacy systems. It improves workflow and offers sophisticated solutions with reliable notifications and communication between modules.

Features:

  • Medication Tracking
  • Resident Information Management
  • Scheduling
  • New Resident Assessment
  • Staff Management
  • Admissions Management
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Incident Management
  • Care Planning
  • Medical Records
eResidentCare

This application is designed for complete care management. Electronic charting and real-time information make it a favoured software option. Staff members can access data from nearly any device. There are no installation requirements, and upgrades are regularly scheduled.

Features

  • Admissions Management
  • Care Planning
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Building Maintenance
  • Incident Management
  • Medical Records
  • Medication Tracking
  • Scheduling
  • New Resident Assessment
  • Resident Info Management
  • Staff Management
  • Work Order Management

 

InTouchLink

This comprehensive platform streamlines operations and encourages communication. It is powerful, yet simple to use. The resident and family member portal gives it a unique quality and increases overall satisfaction for families. This system also includes a learning center, service request manager, and content management center.

Features:

  • Scheduling
  • Staff Management
  • Work Order Management
  • Building Maintenance

Occupancy advantage

Created for the sales and marketing departments of senior living communities, this system boasts easy automation. It’ has numerous “set it and forget it” options.

Features

  • Sales
  • Marketing,
  • CRM
  • Follo-up
  • Extensive Automation

 

TheWorxHub

This cloud-based management solution offers a suite of applications. It assists community operators in coordinating activities. It also promotes communication between departments. The system is compatible with all mobile devices.

Features:

  • Building Maintenance
  • Incident Management
  • Scheduling
  • Work Order Management

Grove Menus

This food service solution assists communities in controlling costs with full menu management. It offers menu suggestions that meet state regulations and are signed by dietitians. Customization options allow you to increase resident satisfaction by selecting the items that best fit your needs. The program is available from any device that has internet access.

Features:

  • Seasonal menus
  • Shopping lists
  • Special diets
  • Prep sheets
  • Production sheet

 

Tabula Pro

This highly customizable software offers state-specific solutions. It helps track residents and staff members. If your community has specialized needs, this might be the best option for you. It can meet very specific requirements.

Features:

  • Medication Tracking
  • Admissions Management
  • Resident Info Management
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Scheduling
  • Care Planning
  • Incident Management
  • Medical Records
  • New Resident Assessment
  • Building Maintenance

 

Deciding which software solutions are most beneficial for your community requires an understanding of the community’s unique needs. Closely observe and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your organization. Speak with residents and staff members to gather useful information and opinions. Once you determine exactly what is needed, you can begin to search for optimal solutions. Numerous software systems are available, and we have only scratched the surface in this article. Take plenty of time to research any new systems before implementation. Due diligence is key anytime you are considering community-wide operational changes.

Hearing Aids Technology – 2017 Top 3 Innovations

Hearing Aids TechnologyMany elderly people experience varying degrees of hearing loss. While traditional hearing aids have offered some assistance, they have many faults and have left users unsatisfied or unwilling to continue use. Leading hearing aid companies are working to create innovative solutions. Here are the top three innovations in hearing aids for 2017.

Adjustment
one of the issues people encounter with hearing aids is the lack of adjustment options. Most hearing aids are designed for one fixed environment. Specific hearing aids also work best for people in different stages of hearing loss. This means individuals often need to upgrade or purchase new hearing aids as they are hearing loss progresses. Users may also find themselves buying different hearing aids for various environmental situations. This becomes costly and is sometimes simply impossible for people to manage. Luckily, a company called Unitron recently developed hearing aids that are adjustable to any environment and change with the user’s needs.

Size
RIC (receiver in canal) hearing aids are generally known to be the most effective. However, they are too large for users with smaller ear canals. This forced many people to choose ITE (in the ear) hearing aids. Now, manufacturers have developed tiny RIC devices so everyone can experience the highest quality of sound regardless of their ear canal size.

Sound Focus
hearing aids typically cancel background noise to focus on a single voice for one-on-one conversations. This is great. However, it makes group conversations difficult for those with hearing loss. When focusing on one voice, others in the group are canceled out as background noise. Oticon has created a solution. Their new hearing aids focus on groups while canceling out background noise. The ability to determine the difference between background sound and group voices is a much-needed innovation.

The hearing aids industry is constantly working to improve their products to deliver solutions for those with hearing loss. This is particularly useful for seniors because so many suffer from hearing loss.

3 Medication Management Apps Helping Seniors Live Independently

 

Seniors Live IndependentlyOlder adults are embracing technology and gaining significant benefit from the use of mobile devices. Smart phones and tablets are proving themselves extremely valuable in the lives of elderly people. They allow seniors to engage on social media platforms and stay connected with friends and family. There are also a number of apps and games to help keep the mind active, which plays an important role in retaining cognitive abilities. Now, there are even apps to help seniors manage their medications. This is crucial, as most elderly people are on several medications. It is easy to accidentally miss a dose or even overdose when a person has multiple medications to take at varying times throughout the day. The apps discussed in this article are designed to help solve this issue. The top three medication management apps for seniors are  as follows:

 

  1. MedCoach –  This is a free app available for Android, iPhone and iPad. The app offers a list of medications and a user-friendly interface to set up reminders. It also connects to your pharmacy for simple refill orders. Caregivers particularly appreciate this. It is used by some tech-savvy seniors as well.
  2. MediSafe – This is another medication reminder app available for Android, iPhone and iPad. It features loud alarm style reminders, refill options, and it is easy to use. One of the unique characteristics of this app is the ability to share information. Medication data can be shared among family members, and progress reports can be generated for physicians.
  3. Pillboxie – This is a user-friendly app perfect for seniors or caregivers. It is available for the iPhone and iPad. The cost is only $.99. It provides on-screen visual cues with images of pill bottles. Users can set alarms and reminders for each medication. It does not require a data connection, so you will not miss a reminder due to lack of data service.

 

These are just three of the many apps that assist elderly people in their daily activities. We should not underestimate an older adult’s ability to use and understand modern technology. Just like anything new in life, it simply takes a little time to learn. Seniors and caregivers can both benefit from using these types of medication management apps.

 

 

 

 

 

Why is Technology Important in Senior Housing ?

 

Senior Care technology

As our first post, it seems appropriate to discuss the purpose of this blog. Why is technology in senior living an issue that deserves your attention? Here, we will answer that very question so leaders in the industry can respond to the needs of their residents with a better understanding of the essential role technology plays in senior care. Technology is an increasingly important factor in all industries and in our personal lives. While some people are reluctant to embrace change, others realize the need for upgrades and improvements. The broad goal of new technology is to make things more effective and efficient. So, how does this impact senior care services?

Quality of care

Providing a higher quality of care not only improves the lives of residents, it also increases demand and occupancy rates. New technologies offer opportunities for immense improvements in care giving. These innovations span across all sectors of elder care. Senior communities implementing new systems are obtaining tremendous positive results.

Safety

The issue of safety is always a concern in eldercare communities. Community operators are attentive to the well-being of residents, as well as the employees and caregivers. New high-tech systems advance overall safety. A great example of this is a real time location system” (RTLS). These devices have become crucial in providing the absolute highest level of safety.

Savings

While implementing new technologies and systems typically has an initial upfront cost; it often saves money in the long term. When your systems are more reliable, running more efficiently and effectively, you will naturally cut costs. Unnecessary spending deteriorates the quality of care and therefore, defeats the purpose of your community.

Lead the industry

The senior living industry is competitive, no question about that. In order to stay in the game, communities must offer the finest care. If you plan to be in the forefront of this industry, you must provide superior services. Technology is the key to accomplishing this goal. Families seeking top-quality care for their loved ones expect modern tech to be utilized.

Now that you understand the significance of technology in senior housing communities, we hope you will pursue the knowledge and information to make your elder care community stand out from the crowd.