By Susan Saldibar

There’s been a lot of finger-wagging going on these days, much of it aimed at senior living leadership for not “getting on board” with technology. I know. I’ve done some of the wagging. 

Maybe a more constructive way forward is to listen to what actual users who are rocking the technology have to say.

I spoke recently with Jack York, co-founder of iN2L (a Foresight partner), and Allison Hart, iN2L vice president of marketing, about their recently launched Communities That Shine awards program. This new program recognizes communities for “leveraging engagement technology to create outstanding resident experiences”.

These Are the Folks We Need to Hear From

As soon as iN2L announced the program, the stories started flooding in. One rehab provider reported a 13% reduction in falls, Allison tells me. At another day program center, a compassionate staff member carried an iN2L system in a retrofitted suitcase, safely visiting clients who couldn’t leave their homes or access virtual programming during COVID. There they played games and got in touch with remote loved ones. In other communities, telehealth sessions became the norm, she tells me, as did video calls home and lots of virtual entertainment and games.

What’s cool is that users really got dialed into personalizing their iN2L systems to tailor the experience to each resident’s interests. “We’ve always had the personalization capability, although not everyone takes the time to use it,” Jack says. “But when COVID hit, it exploded because people were so motivated. Personalization became even more critical. Residents wanted to quickly access their preferred activities – hear their favorite music, watch family videos of their granddaughter singing, and so on.” 

So, without further ado, as they say, here are the program’s first six award recipients and why they were selected: 

Seashore Gardens Living Center, Galloway, NJ

Recognized for: Brilliance in Enterprise Readiness

Seashore Gardens Living Center uses iN2L to broaden the availability of opportunities for connection and engagement during the pandemic; including religious services, family celebrations, intergenerational programming, and telehealth visits.

Charlie’s Place Activity and Respite Center, Baton Rouge, LA

Recognized for: Brilliance in Transforming Program Delivery

Charlie’s Place Activity and Respite Center leverages iN2L to support a transition to virtual program delivery while clients remained safely in their homes due to the pandemic. Staff brought iN2L to safe visits at clients’ homes, providing a brief respite for family caregivers while engaging program participants with personalized activities.

Shelby Health & Rehabilitation Center, Shelby Township, MI

Recognized for: Brilliance in Resident Wellness

Shelby Health & Rehabilitation Center integrates iN2L into multiple aspects of resident care to provide greater opportunities for purposeful engagement that increase resident participation, reduce anxiety and agitation, and build camaraderie. Using iN2L therapy programming to help assess short-term therapy, Shelby Health & Rehabilitation Center reduced resident falls by 13%.

Sunabella at Savannah, Savannah, GA

Recognized for: Brilliance in Engagement Continuity

Sunabella at Savannah expanded the use of iN2L beyond the Activities team to all team members, effectively and efficiently supporting the transition to smaller pods of residents during the pandemic while simultaneously increasing engagement and activity options by using the solution in new ways.

Spring Arbor of Richmond, Richmond, VA

Recognized for: Brilliance in Differentiation and Engagement

Spring Arbor of Richmond enhances memory care by integrating iN2L across the spectrum of care; including group programming, 1:1 engagement, family interaction, video chatting, virtual exercise sessions, and end-of-life transitional support.

Advanced Rehabilitation & Healthcare of Athens in partnership with Rehab Synergies, Athens, TX

Recognized for: Brilliance in Person-Centered Engagement

Advanced Rehabilitation & Healthcare of Athens maximizes the ability to create personalized iN2L experiences and build rapport between staff and elders. They do this by creating and utilizing personalized profiles for each resident with regular input from families. Team members make video calls a regular part of the resident experience for family visits and telehealth appointments.

A Helper Through Hard Times

It’s enough of an honor to win, but the announcements themselves had a bit of a twist. According to Jack, each of the winning communities was invited to a Zoom “meeting” to (ostensibly) ask some follow-up questions. Instead, each was told they were an award recipient. 

What struck Jack about these Zoom award announcement calls was that CEOs joined to publicly acknowledge their staff for the selfless work they were doing. Those conversations probably don’t happen enough.

“Steve [Moran] always challenges leadership to do things differently,” he says. “This has been a vehicle for the C-Suite to interact with other staff, recognizing and honoring those who put their lives on the line. People driven by their hearts — it speaks so loudly to have management on the call.”

Allison was equally moved by the reactions of the award recipients. “These winners all had unique approaches, but the common thread is that they have experienced and believed in the power of iN2L and were able to tap into it to enable meaningful connections when their residents needed that the most,” she says. “It is amazing to me how every community pulled together, got creative, and made the shift without skipping a beat, despite the unbelievable circumstances of the past year.”

Tools That Change Lives

And the Communities That Shine awards aren’t over. Each award recipient, Allison tells me, will be entered into an annual drawing for the chance to win a donation to the charity of their choice.  

“I’m continually inspired by people who go above and beyond just to get a smile here and there,” Jack says. “Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone with dementia. Suddenly everyone has to wear masks, your daughter can’t show up for a visit. It’s so brutal. So, it’s exhilarating to see people leaning into these tools to change tens of thousands of lives.”

For more information on the first six Communities That Shine award winners, you can go here. You can also follow iN2L on social media to get a glimpse at those award announcement videos.

If you haven’t already, you should download a copy of iN2L’s recent research report, “Bridging the Loneliness Gap”.

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