Tech Never Hurts in Search for Elder Care

"The latest technologies are continuing to be implemented across the senior care market to improve the care experience for residents and their families, as well as staff members," Travis Palmquist writes for McKnight's Senior Living. "A regulatory push is behind some of these new technologies: New legislation affects all health care markets, and organizations are joining forces to improve data access."

Here are some of the trends to watch:

Managing care transitions more efficiently.
"We already are seeing technology being used to engage residents long before they move in. Senior care communities are getting ahead of the curve with in-​home care programs; equipping prospective residents still living independently with technology such as iPads. These tablets come preloaded with software, such as medication reminders or “face to face” check-​ins. By helping these individuals remain independent for as long as possible, communities are building relationships in advance. Then, when the individuals finally make the move, theirs will be the community they gravitate to."

Nursing home facilities can promote these programs to shoppers and their families. They should know that the new AudienceSCAN survey revealed 45% of Nursing Home Shoppers are using Android tablets and 40% are using iPads.

Attracting a more informed population of residents.
"Senior living operators know that when a prospective resident and his or her family tours your community, they're looking at two or three others as well. This is a new, highly informed prospect. As a former operator who has conducted many tours, one of the first things I'd talk about is how we're using technology to track all the things they care about, such as the services that they will receive each month. Not being able to do this could hinder your chance to be the community of choice."

A great way to inform shoppers about the technology your senior living facility provides is through television (over-​the-​air, online, mobile or tablet). The new AudienceSCAN study showed 57% of Elder Care Shoppers took action after watch TV commercials in the past 30 days.

Mobility for team members.
"Senior living communities always have strived to provide a home-​like environment rather than a clinical institutional environment with nurses' stations. One way to achieve this environment as they introduce technology is by equipping staff members with mobile devices. Being mobile means that care teams can spend more time with residents documenting as they go instead of sitting behind a computer logging information at the end of each shift. We're noticing some exciting new apps that provide much more face time with residents, and they are as easy to use for older workers as they are for millennials."

Show senior care shoppers how staff spends more time with residents in advertising. The new AudienceSCAN survey results revealed 46% of Elder Care Shoppers took action after seeing newspaper (print, online, mobile or tablet) advertising in the past month.

Greater need for medication management.
"The average assisted living resident is taking nine medications. Multiply that across hundreds of residents a community houses. It's a huge challenge for communities that manage medications for residents. With so many different medications per resident across an entire community, no room for error exists. Families expect that their loved ones will have accurate and efficient medication administration, and technology will help achieve this."

The evolution of the portal for resident/​caregiver engagement.
"An exciting assortment of creative resident engagement tools, as well as family portals, exists. This area of technology is growing quickly, and operators need to stay on top of it."

"The key is to use technology, when possible, to help minimize risk as much as possible. So how can a senior living community stand out from the crowd and get noticed? One way is by providing solid, integrated technology. Not only for engagement purposes, but to deliver a higher level of service."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.