Technology is part of almost every aspect of human life, including healthcare systems. Senior living communities are no exception, and numerous technologies target them. From the perspective of a family caregiver of someone living with dementia, here are some senior living technologies that communities can use to improve their operations.
1. Medication management
Managing medication is a demanding task for both the older adult and community staff members. Errors are prone to arise where several caregivers work with the same older person. Thanks to technology, medication management can proceed smoothly and free from errors. And as a bonus, medical supervision often is part of apps or systems that manage other activities, such as setting reminders for healthcare visits, meals, bandage change and social events.
2. Digital medical records
Digitizing medical records eliminates the time-consuming task of sorting paperwork and hard-copy medical records. Electronic health records and electronic medical records technologies allow community staff members to monitor older adults’ vital signs, respond in real time, communicate and coordinate care activities. The technologies also can ease the ability of families to monitor the wellbeing of their loved ones in a community.
3. Medication reminders for the older adult
Older adult highly value a sense of independence. Senior living communities can enable this sense of independence by helping residents take medication on their own (states have varying requirements requirements related to this; senior living communities will want to be in compliance). Such independence can facilitate a smooth transition for new residents. Medication reminder technology alerts older adults when it is time to take medicine and can alert them to other activities, such as social events. One form of this technology comes in the form of a clock that an older person wears on his or her wrist.
4. Communication technology
Nowadays, older adults adapt well to the use of smartphones, tablets and laptops. You even may use such technology to enable residents to keep in touch with their families and friends through common platforms such as Skype, Face Time and Google Hangouts, as well as other proprietary technology that may be part of a suite of products aimed at senior living communities. Chatting via video allows a more personal experience than talking over the phone. Older adults can feel present in family life events such as weddings, graduation ceremonies and birthday parties. Seniors can access and use the internet as they did at their former homes. Through video chats, family members and friends also can monitor the wellbeing of their loved ones living at the community.
5. Medical alert systems for fall detection and prevention
Falls are a leading cause of injuries and death among the elderly, and the associated physical and financial costs costs are high for everyone involved. Implementing the right technology can help reduce injuries and improve the response time to falls.
The best approach, of course, is to adopt practices that prevent falls. Modern technology, however, provides solutions to help curb falls. Sensors, apps and related technology can identify potential risk factors, detect falls and send alerts to the care providers. Some medical alert systems inform the entire team so that the closest caregiver can respond quickly. For residents, these alert systems take the form of wearables such as necklaces, anklet and wrist bands that monitor activities.
6. Technology for care providers
Senior living communities, in my opinion, should have apps that simplify the interaction between care providers and other professionals in the community. Such apps allow the team to meet, plan, schedule and monitor senior care virtually.
7. Senior locating technology
The technology is useful when caring for older adults who have conditions that affect their memory. By staying updated on the location of residents, senior living communities can improve response time if an issue arises. Communities can deploy this technology within and beyond the limits of their premises.
8. Wander management technology
Seniors living with dementia often wander. This behavior is risky to the older adult and stressful to staff and family members. Wander management technology can offer peace of mind to the management, staff and family members of the resident.
Telehealth combines several services that leverage telecommunication technologies to facilitate health check services. Residents can obtain services from a physician without a visit to or by the doctors.
The solution allows both parties to save time as well as money, providing ongoing checkups and evaluating the need for any further medical action, where necessary. Telehealth packs several services that cater to an array of healthcare services that help a senior living community and residents to respond appropriately to a given condition.