There is an assumption that senior living providers are averse to using technology . . . is it true?

By Susan Saldibar

Judy Finn, Director of Marketing with iTacit, a Senior Housing Forum partner, recently relayed a conversation she had with a young nurse at a senior living community. They were talking about how the community used a desktop software application. The nurse sort of scrunched up her face and said, “I just access that when I have to.”

Then the discussion turned to mobile devices. And boom! Everything changed. When Judy described iTacit’s mobile app — which delivers training and communication to smartphones and tablets — the nurse was quick to get on board, “Oh, yeah, I would do that!”

There is an assumption out there that senior living providers and workers are averse to using technology, especially mobile devices.  But, based on discussions with long-term care providers across the country, Judy believes the truth is more nuanced. It is more about the perceptions associated with using technology that stand in the way.  

Take the short quiz below do learn about your own perceptions of mobile technology use in your workplace, and then read our follow up.

The Quiz:





We do not allow smartphone/tablet usage for employees, except during breaks.


We understand the advantages of allowing employees to use smartphones/tablets but security and potential abuse have kept it off the table.


We realize that there are clear benefits to be had with mobile devices and are looking into ways to use them.


We are mobile-connected and allow employees to either use their own devices or we provide mobile devices, with firm ground rules in place.





We use paper almost exclusively. We believe technology hinders person-to-person communications.


We use other technology to send/receive alerts; NOT smartphones/tablets.


We’re open to mobile communications, but are concerned about security and abuse.


Our employees use a custom mobile app to keep everyone in the communications loop at all times even those who are off-premises.





We hold scheduled classroom training only.


We provide access to some online learning, but don’t want to replace our “in-person” training sessions.


We provide both online and classroom training, but use two systems to schedule and track those.


We provide both online and classroom training, but use one online platform to schedule and track all training



How did you score?

  • <9: You may want to ask yourself if you might be letting your own skepticism hinder you from taking advantage of breaking technology.

  • 9-12: You’re on your way! You are open to looking into using more mobility in your community but still have some hesitation and concerns to overcome.

  • >12: Congratulations! You are empowering a new generation of caregivers who consider their smartphones and tablets an extension of themselves. You are using mobile apps to turn mobile devices into highly interactive, collaborative platforms.

If you are in the 9 or under crowd, it may be for one of these reasons.

  1. Paper preferred: “We never recommend eliminating paper immediately, particularly for people who trust a certain method,” says Judy. “But paper can get lost or tossed,” she adds. “Like most technology, we find that, very quickly, our customers wonder how they ever lived without an online backup.” Communications that occur online are instantly received and trackable.

  2. No time for steep learning curve of new systems: That may be because your old software programs, being old, required more time to learn and use. “Today we are able to offer integrated desktop/mobile applications that are easy to learn and use, and can be customized to just about any environment,” says Judy. “Everything is cloud-based, so updates happen seamlessly.”

  3. Security concerns: Security is always a key concern in senior care, as in all of healthcare. Hands down. “Technology providers should understand the importance of security in our industry and be able to address it upfront,” says Judy.  Look for a company, like iTacit, that works with long-term care, so you don’t have to educate them on what’s required.

Time to push the envelope with technology providers.

Finally, Judy has some parting advice for senior care providers. “If you are a senior care provider, you deserve to have those three issues addressed,” says Judy. “Bring your concerns to the top of the deck. Ask your suppliers to demonstrate how the technology will enhance human communications and how it will really free up your staff to provider better care.”

For more information on using both desktop and mobile technology to improve training, compliance and connectivity in your workplace, please visit the iTacit website.