Two older adults sitting on a couch holding an iPad

JayPad tablets are being used by senior living residents in Marietta, OH, to address social isolation and staffing shortages as part of a hybrid care delivery model. (Image courtesy of HealthJay Inc.)

Tablets are being distributed to hundreds of residents of senior living communities in a bid to create a hybrid care delivery model for older adults.

The Southeast Ohio-based Buckeye Hills Regional Council recently announced a partnership with California-based software company HealthJay to deploy JayPad tablets to residents in several Marietta, OH, senior living communities. The goal of the initiative is to address challenges related to social isolation and staffing shortages.

“Social isolation has caused depression and deterioration in social determinants of health,” Buckeye Hills Support Services Executive Director Frederick Hindman said. “Staffing shortages are an ongoing systemic threat to quality care delivery. This initiative will address these challenges by connecting our clients in real time to their family and caregivers, whether they are close by or far away.”

The initiative was born out of the Buckeye Fields senior living project and a desire to provide both mental and physical health advantages to combat isolation and loneliness. Buckeye Fields will be a new affordable senior housing community with 64 ranch-style apartments on 25 acres near the Washington County Home, which received 60 tablets. 

Buckeye Fields is slated to receive 67 tablets once it opens; construction on the community will begin in June 2022. Hindman told McKnight’s Senior Living that the community is the first project for a model for affordable senior housing that BHSS plans to replicate throughout its eight-county region.

“I anticipate that we will be using the tablets for telehealth for this housing model going forward,” Hindman said.

A No Wrong Door grant from the Ohio Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Community Living and the Ohio Aging and Disability Resource Center paid for the tablets and system. The Marietta Community Foundation provided the initial funds for the environmental and marketing studies to apply for the grant. 

Residents can participate in no-touch video calls with family members, take part in virtual gatherings with other residents, and take virtual classes to meet other older adults from across the country.

Caregivers use a mobile app to conduct virtual wellness checks and provide concierge services via video. An administrative dashboard tracks virtual activities for accountability. The move is expected to improve efficiency in daily operations at senior living communities.

“Technology is not an option; it is our future,” BHRC Executive Director Misty Crosby said. BHRC is a council of governments from Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry and Washington counties in Southeast Ohio. The council connects local, state and federal resources to communities with their aging and disability, community development, mapping and data, population health and transportation planning divisions.

HealthJay CEO Rosita Wong told McKnight’s Senior Living that the platform removes technology barriers, allowing older adults to talk to family members and caregivers without a facilitator. The company partnered with LeadingAge California, where assisted living communities now are mandated to offer video conferencing.