21st century technology brings safety and security to senior living.

By Meg LaPorte

One in eighteen older Americans is the victim of financial fraud or a scam each year, according to a recent report from the American Journal of Public Health. The study, released in July, also found that the impact of financial exploitation and other types of fraud on elders is associated with mortality, hospitalization, and poor physical and mental health. “Without effective primary prevention strategies, the absolute scope of this problem will escalate with the growing population of older adults,” the study’s authors assert.

For obvious reasons, senior living providers are in a crucial and strategic position to keep this problem from escalating by protecting their residents from abuse and exploitation. In fact, many providers have risen to the occasion and taken on the effort to prevent possible injury by third-party visitors and caregivers who are allowed on the premises.

A Paper Replacement that Makes a Lot of Sense

Accushield, a new Senior Housing Forum partner, has created a solution aimed at helping senior living communities be part of the solution. The company’s touchscreen, badge-printing tablet automates the sign-in process for all visitors to a community and confirms receipt of required credentials, such as criminal background checks, liability insurance, immunizations, and more, from third-party health care providers and other vendors working in the building.

For Teresa Keating, executive director the Barrington Terrace Assisted Living Community in Fort Myers, Fla., the decision to implement Accushield was a no brainer. “Unfortunately, there are people out there in the world who prey on elders and walk around like they should be here,” she says. “I felt like I didn’t have a way to properly identify visitors and track them once they’re in the building.”

What’s more, Keating, who is a registered nurse, had seen systems like Accushield’s in hospitals. “It made complete sense to me, especially since home health providers who come in to care for residents are not always screened consistently,” she says. “The Accushield system allows me to screen who walks in and signs in—visitors and vendors alike.”

Families Love It Too

For security purposes, it’s been great, Keating says. “Our families and residents appreciate that we have it here,” she says, adding that the majority of Arbor Company Senior Living communities are currently utilizing the tablet. “Our other communities have implemented it because we saw the benefit of it from a safety and security standpoint.”

Accushield Founder Charles Mann notes that the system was designed to replace the paper sign-in logs at entrances to a variety of senior living communities, including assisted living, independent living, memory care, and continuing care retirement communities. “Having the Accushield system has multiple other benefits as well,” says Mann, who is the son of a veteran senior living owner and operator. “It promotes more accurate and accessible vendor and visitor information, avoids exposing a resident’s private health information, verifies community-specific credentials for third-party health care providers and other vendors, enhances the visitor experience, and verifies proof of criminal background checks, among other things.”

The system’s camera feature offers an additional layer of security that helps to ward off unwanted visitors or imposters, says Keating, who notes that another bonus is the system’s “love meter,” a built-in mechanism that enables users to pull a report of residents who have not had any recent visitors, “so we can give them some special attention because we know that loneliness can lead to depression.”

The company is also very easy to work with, Keating adds. “They are constantly upgrading the tablet, looking for new and innovative ideas, and their customer service is outstanding.”

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