When digital technology was integrated into senior living communities, neurologists affirmed it can play a vital role in delaying or preventing the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. An analysis of 12 peer-reviewed studies published in the academic journal Epidemiology found that older adults who regularly pursue cognitively active pursuits (puzzles, games, learning a different language, painting, taking classes, etc.) “benefited substantially from cognitive activity.”
In fact, ongoing research into the advantages of seniors using technology to “exercise” their brain suggests senior living communities should invest in and encourage the use of Wi-Fi-enabled devices and programs. Voice or motion-activated sensors, communication technologies and cloud computing directly support an initiative called Active Assisted Living (AAL).
Also referred to as Ambient Assisting Living, AAL improves the ability of seniors to live as independently as possible while facilitating their engagement in physical, mental and community wellness programs. AAL technology also has great potential for significantly reducing health care costs and stressful responsibilities undertaken by family caregivers.
8 Benefits of Technology in Senior Living Communities
- Improves quality of care while protecting the private health information of residents.
- Simplifies the ability of all assisted living community residents to access the Internet via free Wi-Fi.
- Allows residents to feel more safe and secure in their homes (emergency response devices in all rooms, voice activation alarms, automatic door locking mechanisms, etc.).
- Residents can rely on Facetime, Skype or Zoom to stay in touch with family. Chatting on Skype or other teleconferencing programs offers a more intimate line of communication than a phone call. Skyping and Facetiming build residents’ relationships with grandchildren (and sometimes great-grandchildren) who they may not get to see as often as they like
- Shopping online in the comfort of their home is convenient, affordable and even fun for assisted living community residents who have mobility issues.
- “Alexa, what is the weather forecast today?” Seniors using Alexa mention it’s like having a roommate who immediately knows the answers to all their questions, from what to wear for the day to what the community is serving for lunch.
- Accessing Facebook is one of the most popular ways for seniors to stay in touch with distant family members. Many are delighted to reconnect with people from high school or college on Facebook.
- Community television channels enhance the homelike quality of our Daytona Beach assisted living community. Residents can access channels on their own TV sets or watch our channels to learn about upcoming social and health events as well as all the latest news about the community.
Technologies Used Exclusively at Sunscape Daytona Beach
Sunscape Daytona Beach has access to Wi-Fi, Community TV, voice control devices and the technology that makes it all come together for wellness and greater comfort of residents and team members. Below are a few tech-enabled apps or programs that will be used to keep residents and their families informed and engaged.
Offering a wide variety of mentally stimulating individual or group programs for seniors, Fit Minds targets five vital areas of cognition:
- Language and music
- Spatial/visual orientation
- Critical thinking
Fit Minds has created interactive cognitive stimulation exercises that address independent seniors and seniors with mild, moderate or severe dementia. Exercises and community programs are delivered by a certified coach with experience helping seniors maintain memory, critical thinking skills and creativity.
Example of how Fit Minds works: Mary is 78 years old with mild Alzheimer’s disease. She used to be a high school music teacher who taught piano. Mary has virtual visits with her Fit Minds coach three times a week, who provides sheet music for Mary to learn new songs. Mary’s coach also plays trivia games with her that involve questions about past and present music composers.
Alis provides a central interface from which team members and residents can stay up-to-date with health records. Included in the Alis software is a calendar hub, family coordinator, electronic health records and electronic medication administration records. Equipped with voice capability, Alis works well to centralize and streamline clinical tasks performed by our team members.
Example of how Alis works: LPN Evan relies on Alis to instantly access EHRs and eMARs when providing treatment to residents. Evan knows precisely when a resident received treatment and what medications they take in less than several seconds.
With Caremerge, the care team can monitor engagement and attendance to ensure members maintain a balanced life for wellness. It sends regular messages regarding participation in classes and programs, reminds everyone about programming and ensures that all members are actively involved every day in all four dimensions of wellness.
Example of how Caremerge works: Leslie uses Caremerge to assure that her mother Jan attends her bi-weekly exercise class. Jan frequently receives messages to assure she never misses a class.
One of the primary reasons seniors have difficulty with cognitive activities is their inability to hear clearly. Although hearing aids can help improve hearing, some seniors simply do not like wearing them. This reduces their ability to communicate and engage in group programs beneficial to brain health.
Eversound offers an advanced listening system complete with headphones that improve hearing and focus. Like Fit Minds, Eversound presents daily programs involving everything from workout classes, animals, concerts and history to cultural shows, fun and games and general entertainment.
Example of how Eversound is used: Frank is 80 years old and has a moderate hearing impairment. He has tried several hearing aids but claims they are uncomfortable and “don’t work.” However, Eversound’s headphones and louder-than-average programs allow him to interact with fitness coaches, watch and hear entertaining shows and engage in cognitively stimulating programs.
Accushield keeps real-time account of who is entering and exiting community buildings using a tablet-based kiosk. By replacing paper sign-in logbooks that can be misplaced or misused, Accushield technology mandates all team members, visitors, caregivers from outside the community and residents digitally sign-in with the Accushield app. Benefits of Accushield include instant temperature scans, a health screening questionnaire, touch-free sign-in/sign-out and constantly updated reporting dashboards.
Example of how Accushield is used: Sarah is 78 years old with type 2 diabetes and COPD. She has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Her 35-year-old grandson Mike came to visit her unannounced one day. When Accushield gave Mike a temperature scan, his temperature was near 100 degrees F. Mike was not permitted to visit Sarah due to her immunocompromised health condition.
Daytona Beach Senior Living Community
Sunscape Daytona Beach understands how vital technology is to residents’ overall health and well-being. For that reason, we continue investigating a variety of technologies that could be implemented in our community to benefit residents’ lifestyle and comfort further.