Technology can radically improve the lives of seniors.
When’s the last time you had a terrific idea for a new product or service then, several years later, you see someone else had the same idea, but they had the unmitigated gall to embrace it, harness the possibilities and make it a reality?
My Tale of Woe
As evidence of my frustrating prognostications I submit to you the following tale of woe. When the Wii first arrived on the entertainment scene, our family was front and center (yes, I also waited in long lines for Furby and Cabbage Patch dolls). I remember the first evening of rudimentary baseball, tennis and bowling.
Picture the family huddled around the television like a scene out of a twisted Norman Rockwell painting: the father sporting his weathered slippers and pipe; the children huddled around the soft glow of an enormous radio; the entire family at once enjoying and enamored with the addition of technology into their routine evenings. Life would never be the same.
I remember the epiphany (“Wii-piphany” if you will) as if it were yesterday. “We should be using this in senior housing!” Even among the comments of, “yeah, OK, Dad…it’s your serve, come on,” I remember wondering how we could integrate this into our communities. I thought about how it could be used to assist residents with range of motion, enhance socialization with virtual bowling tournaments and the like.
We would be able to engage seniors into the world of technology by way of this easily accessible medium. 12 months later you could not walk into a senior living community that did not have a Wii. Today it’s almost passé. That’s the nature of technology, it is relentless in its fast-paced march forward. Cutting edge this morning is old news by this afternoon. I was on the cutting edge of our industry for about a week.
Making Technology for Seniors Work
I have long been a strong proponent of integrating technology for the benefit of the seniors. The social, cognitive and physical benefits provided to those we care for are enormous and exciting. Making the appropriate technology accessible has always been the challenge, along with shifting the company or community culture away from the routine and familiar (Bible Study, Bingo and Birthdays) and championing an evolution.
When I first heard about It’s Never Too Late (iN2L), a Senior Housing Forum Partner I was intrigued, but after learning more, it’s déjà vu for me (Wii-ja vu, if you will…OK, that was the last one, I promise.). iN2L has taken a great concept, embraced and harnessed the possibilities and made technology not only accessible for seniors but, by careful thought and design, has made it socially, cognitively and physically beneficial for them.
With the variety of platforms and product types they offer, it’s difficult to see a reason why most, if not all, senior living environments would not be using this type of product in the very near future. iN2L has incorporated touch screen technology with specially designed software to allow for expanded physical and cognitive therapy services in an inventive, unique and highly marketable way. Benefits of Including technology into Senior Housing include:
- Increased Socialization
- Adaptable and Personalized Activities
- Increased Family Connections
- Greater sense of Independence
- Cognitive Stimulation
- Health and Wellness related Therapy
- Unique Service Offering (Marketability)
- Staff Interest and Engagement
By making basic web applications like Skype, email and web searching accessible, easy to use and engaging for residents, it is possible to reconnect residents with family members miles away. By augmenting these activities with touch screen technology, iN2L expands the educational, creative, artistic and musical benefits in ways that should make everyone in this industry excited. Yesterday’s ideas are today’s reality. Tomorrow’s possibilities are being shaped now. When will you jump aboard?