Approximately 835,200 Americans live in assisted living communities in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ensuring that they are able to stay in touch with family members and other loved ones is crucial for community owners and managers, because families and friends want the ability to easily check in on residents’ well-being, keep them updated on family happenings and simply catch up.

Today’s older adults are more tech-savvy than ever before. According to Pew Research, older adults of the average age of move-in to a senior living community increasingly own smartphones. Thanks to those phones and to technologies such as FaceTime and Skype, residents are more connected with loved ones than ever before. Technology allows them to see each other, even when separated by distance or other circumstances that prevent in-person visits.

With so many seniors using cell phones as their primary means of communication, senior living communities need to make sure that they have the infrastructure in place to support the technology. We’re seeing amazing technologic advancements, but several senior living communities are facing the issue of poor cell signal. Many large commercial buildings, including senior living communities, don’t have consistent wireless service throughout, whether it be due to building materials, the outside landscape or even the sheer size of the building.

Poor cell signal affects everyone at the community. In addition to causing problems and frustration for residents and their loved ones, who want to stay in touch easily, weak cell signals affect staff members, too. A reliable cell signal is critical for internal communications and the systems and technologies supporting resident and data security.

So how can community owners and managers fix the issue of poor or weak cell signal and improve cellular connectivity? One option is installing cell signal boosters, which use a passive distributed antenna system (passive DAS) to access existing the outdoor cellular signal, bring it into the building and amplify it up to 32 times. Passive DAS provides coverage for all wireless carriers simultaneously at a relatively low installation cost. It boosts voice and data speeds for 4G LTE, 2G and existing 3G networks, resulting in strong cell coverage for all carriers.

Unlike traditional active DAS systems, which require networks of fiber optics to be hardwired into a building, passive DAS use a series of antennas positioned where they are needed to boost signal. These solutions, such as Wilson Electronics’ WilsonPro cell phone boosters, range from 30 cents to 70 cents per square foot, including hardware and installation.

Poor or no cell service isn’t an option for assisted living communities and other long-term care facilities where the ability to stay in touch is crucial. Fortunately, passive DAS solutions can solve connectivity issues, ensuring that residents, their families and staff members always can be connected.