At the start of 2020, no one could have imagined how much more crucial technology would become for residents in senior living residences. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated technology adoption for communities across the country, with facilities investing in technologies that keep residents and essential employees physically safe and emotionally well.
While technology has played a vital role in senior care for quite some time, since the beginning of COVID-19, it’s become more important than ever. Together with streamlining workflows and facilitating contact tracing, here’s how senior residents are benefiting from what the latest technologies have to offer.
What many refer to as “health care at a distance,” telehealth enhances patient-centered care and helps health providers deliver more personalized care to seniors. Providing telehealth access and services to senior living residents limits their exposure to the coronavirus and other contagions. It also frees up staff to spend more quality time with residents, something in higher demand as
family and friends are limited to virtual visits. Medical Grade Wi-Fi® enables continuous streaming telehealth technologies like video conferencing, remote patient monitoring, and “store and forward” secure communications.
Staying in Touch
With older adults struggling to connect with one another and their families and friends, keeping in touch during lockdowns and periods of isolation is critical to residents’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Video chat platforms like Zoom helps mitigate loneliness and reduce anxiety and stress. Residents can also connect to live streams of town halls where they receive live updates on things like changes to visitation policies.
Keeping seniors engaged and entertained during social distancing can be tough. But while group meals, wellness classes, and other group activities have been put on hold, many providers and residents are discovering new ways to socialize and keep busy.
- Virtual fitness classes are gaining in popularity, with trainers offering remote sessions.
- Some communities are preprogramming activities like tai-chi, karaoke, and concert series for residents.
- Residents whose travel plans have been postponed are taking virtual vacations, even sending friends and family virtual postcards.
Other creative solutions include computer classes, VR headsets, and interactive solutions for individual or team gaming, virtual lectures, and even religious ceremonies.
Making the Most of the Holidays
The same video chat platforms that the residents used to stay in touch at other times are now being used to celebrate the holidays with family. Many seniors, their friends and family shared meals with family during the Thanksgiving holiday by being across the screen rather than across the table. For the upcoming holidays, communities are planning activities similar to what worked successfully for them over the Thanksgiving holiday, like
- Virtual cookie exchanges that involve either sending cookies to each other or everyone enjoying their favorites together onscreen while sipping a favorite hot drink and playing holiday tunes.
- Residents who want to carry on their gift exchange tradition are having gifts delivered to recipients. Come Christmas day, everyone will jump online to open their gifts “together.”
- Reading Christmas stories or singing holiday carols together to make the day especially fun for small children.
- Using Zoom’s share screen feature so everyone can watch a movie together.
Of course, all of these great ideas depend on access to a reliable and fast internet experience. HealthSignals’ Medical Grade Wi-Fi® offers secure, campus-wide coverage that ensures residents stay connected whenever and wherever they need to. Contact us today to learn more.