As the senior care industry continues to grow and evolve, technology has become an essential component in improving the quality of life for residents in assisted living and memory care communities. With advances in technology, caregivers can better support the cognitive, physical, and emotional needs of residents while enhancing the overall care experience for both residents and their families. In this comprehensive article, we will explore the various ways technology is transforming assisted living and memory care communities, providing valuable tools and resources for residents, families, and staff.
COGNITIVE HEALTH & FITNESS
1. Importance of Cognitive Health
Cognitive health is an essential aspect of whole-person wellness, especially for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Engaging in daily cognitive activities can boost self-esteem, decrease anxiety, and contribute to overall mental fitness. Memory care communities are increasingly recognizing the importance of offering residents multiple ways to stay cognitively active through technology.
2. Cognitive Reserve and Stimulation
The National Institute on Aging reports that participating in cognitive activities can boost cognitive reserve, which may help delay the onset of dementia. Technology can help caregivers in memory care communities make cognitive activities more enjoyable and engaging for residents. For example, using tablets or computers to access trivia, reminiscing groups, or memory-enhancing games.
3. Fit Minds and Mental Stimulation
Fit Minds is a cognitive training program that offers virtual personal trainer sessions in real-time via Facebook, Zoom, and other visual and audio apps. This holistic approach to cognitive stimulation helps keep the minds of seniors in assisted living and memory care communities active, which is essential in preventing further decline in chronic neurological conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
SAFETY & SECURITY
1. Call Button Systems
Technology has greatly improved safety and security in assisted living facilities and memory care settings. Easy-to-use call button systems ensure that residents can quickly and easily call for help when needed.
2. Secured Neighborhoods and Wandering Prevention
Many memory care communities have implemented locked doors with special code systems to ensure residents can wander safely within the community without accidentally leaving the secured area. Courtyards and outdoor spaces are often accessible without a code, allowing residents to enjoy nature at their leisure.
3. Fall Monitoring and Prevention
Real-time fall management systems, such as Dele Health Tech, use sensors and artificial intelligence to monitor residents’ movements and alert caregivers when a fall occurs. This technology allows staff to quickly assess the severity of a fall, determine whether a resident needs to go to the emergency room, and take appropriate corrective action to prevent future falls.
FAMILY COMMUNICATION & COLLABORATION
1. Video Calls and Remote Participation
Technology has made it easier for families to stay connected with their loved ones in assisted living and memory care communities. Applications such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and FaceTime allow for virtual visits and participation in care plan meetings, ensuring family members can stay informed and involved in their loved one’s care.
2. Private Social Media Channels and Newsletters
Private social media channels, emails, and newsletters provide families with regular updates on their loved one’s life in the community, including photos, announcements, and event information. For example, the network of Angels Senior Living facilities use all of these tools with amazing feedback from its residents and their loved ones. This makes for efficient and effective communication between the facility and resident families/loved ones.
3. LifeBio and Personalized Care Plans
Personalization is the way of the future. One size doesn’t fit all and with the help of technology, real personalization can become a reality. LifeBio is an age tech company that helps capture each resident’s life story through guided questions and an online portal. This platform creates a personalized care plan for each resident, ensuring that caregivers can provide customized care based on their personal history and preferences. Imagine the possibilities!
ENHANCED ACTIVITIES & ENGAGEMENT
1. Virtual Museum Tours and Social Events
Technology allows for a wide range of engaging activities and events in assisted living and memory care communities, such as virtual museum tours, trips, and social hours. These experiences not only help to keep residents cognitively and socially engaged but also allow for unique opportunities that may not be available within the community.
2. Obie Hand Motion Gaming System
Obie is a hand motion gaming system that has been introduced in memory care communities to promote engagement and cognitive stimulation. This easy-to-use system allows residents to play games simply by waving their hands, providing an enjoyable and interactive experience.
3. SingFit Prime and Music Therapy
SingFit Prime is a singing app created by music therapists that combines singing, movement, and reminiscence. This engaging app offers a range of songs, each with a specific purpose and incorporating movement or trivia, providing a fun and therapeutic experience for residents in assisted living and memory care communities.
4. Circadian Lighting Systems
Advanced circadian lighting systems mimic the natural light patterns of the sun throughout the day, helping to regulate sleep patterns and improve overall health and wellness for residents in memory care communities. These systems can be programmed to mimic light patterns in different time zones or locations, providing a consistent, soothing environment for residents experiencing sundowning or other sleep disturbances.
SMART DEVICES FOR HEALTH MONITORING
1. TrueLoo Smart Toilet
The TrueLoo smart toilet provides staff with real-time data about a resident’s health and well-being, allowing for early detection and intervention of emerging health issues. By monitoring individual residents’ trends, caregivers can provide personalized care and support to promote overall health.
2. SafelyYou Fall Detection System
The SafelyYou system uses cameras installed in each resident’s apartment to capture falls and provide immediate information to caregivers. This system not only helps staff assess the severity of a fall but also allows them to identify the cause and take appropriate preventative measures.
COMMUNITY TV INFORMATION SHARING
Community TV is an essential tool for keeping residents informed about daily activities, weather, and important announcements within the assisted living or memory care community. This technology enhances the residents’ sense of connection and involvement in the community, promoting overall well-being.
STAFF TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
1. Virtual Reality Training Modules
Technology also plays a vital role in staff training and development in assisted living and memory care communities. Virtual reality training modules provide caregivers with immersive experiences that help them better understand and empathize with residents’ needs and challenges.
2. Caremerge Engagement and Calendar Tool
Caremerge is a tool that helps care teams monitor residents’ engagement and attendance in activities and programs, ensuring a balanced and holistic approach to wellness. This technology also enhances communication between staff, residents, and families, fostering a collaborative and supportive care environment.
EVERSOUND LISTENING TECHNOLOGY
Eversound is an innovative audio technology designed to help individuals with hearing or memory impairments enjoy music, group activities, and communication with friends and family. By facilitating access to sound, Eversound promotes engagement, socialization, and overall quality of life for residents in assisted living and memory care communities.
ACCUSHIELD SIGN-IN AND KIOSK
Accushield is an electronic security system that streamlines visitor sign-ins, vendor credential authentication, and health screening management for assisted living and memory care communities. By implementing this technology, communities can ensure the safety and well-being of residents, staff, and visitors.
In summary, technology plays a crucial role in enhancing the lives of residents in assisted living and memory care communities. From promoting cognitive health and ensuring safety to facilitating communication and engagement, technology empowers caregivers to provide personalized, comprehensive care for seniors and their families. By embracing these innovative tools and resources, assisted living and memory care communities can create an environment that fosters connection, support, and overall well-being for residents and their loved ones.