The role of technology in helping senior living communities keep residents connected and safe.
November 16, 2021
By: Kimberly Bonvissuto,
Resident engagement and safety are two areas where technology can improve quality of life and create meaningful experiences. But not in the way you might think, according to K4Connect co-founder and CEO Scott Moody.
In its second quarterly insights report, K4Connect looked at the role of technology in helping operators navigate post-pandemic life in their communities. K4Connect CEO and co-founder Scott Moody said the report recognizes areas where technology adds value, while also showing where operators can implement solutions to better meet the needs of their residents.
“We hear a lot about engagement and safety in senior living — and that became particularly true during COVID,” Moody told McKnight’s Senior Living. But in looking at the results of the company’s fall 2021 technology insights report, he said he wonders if people are thinking about those two areas in the right way.
While community leaders are looking at resident engagement as a measure of participation in activities, residents are looking at friendships and connections with other residents as a measure of their happiness and satisfaction.
The K4Connect survey found that living in a senior living community helped to combat loneliness for older adults — 70% of residents said they were rarely or never lonely, and 82% said living in a community reduced their level of loneliness.
One in four residents (23%) said loneliness was most prevalent in the evening. Moody said that corresponds to drops in staffing levels and community activities.
He said he looks at digital connections — such as searchable digital directories, video chat, messaging — as a way to foster physical connections. He added that too often the focus is on who is engaging with a platform and who is going to activities. Instead, he said, the focus should be on those who do not participate.
“They are more lonely and more likely to leave a rental community because they don’t know anyone. They don’t go to activities. They probably don’t know most of their neighbors. Nothing is keeping them there,” Moody explained. He added that the survey found that residents who are engaged in their communities and develop friendships are more likely to stay. “I’m more likely to stay in a community if all my friends are here, not if they have a good yoga class.”
When it comes to resident safety, crucial areas for technology include resident visibility, automatic alerting and fall risk mitigation.
Tom Whitaker, executive director for The Carrington at Lincolnwood, which won the Gold award in the Keep It Super Simple category of the 2021 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards, implemented K4Connect’s invisible check-in system in its standalone independent living community beginning in April.
The technology is placed inside existing light switches and alerts staff members twice a day if no movement is detected in an apartment.
“All the residents have to do is get up and go about their day as they normally would. They don’t have to pull a pull cord, press a button, open the front door or call someone,” Whitaker told McKnight’s Senior Living.
He said 97% of his residents are automatically checked in during each window of time, meaning staff have to call or physically check on only 3% of residents in a given day. The technology has been installed in 188 of its 251 apartments so far.
According to the K4Connect survey, 80% of resident survey respondents said automated check-in programs helped them feel safer, while 73% of staff agreed it contributed to increased safety and risk management in their community.
>>Read the full article on McKnight’s Senior Living