By Susan Saldibar

Activities are really the heartbeat of any senior living community. So, when you have a loved one who’s a resident, one of the things that can be frustrating is not knowing if they are participating in activities or just sitting somewhere staring out a window. It’s a worry that can really eat away at peace of mind. Especially if you’re miles away from them.

For staff members of senior living communities, activities present a continuous timeline of work; getting people signed up for them, preparing them, checking people in, and keeping them engaged. 

I had the pleasure of speaking recently with two people whose job, among other things, is to make it easier for staff to engage residents in activities and easier for family members to check in on engagement of their loved ones in those activities. 

Melissa Signorelli is Product Manager and Callie Wright is Director of Communication for LifeShare Technologies (a Senior Living Foresight partner that was recently acquired by Spectrio). The two women shared with me some of the features of their newly released Activity Participation Tracking feature, included with the LifeShare communications platform. 

As Melissa and Callie explain, their clients knew they needed to track participation. After all, it’s a requirement. But it’s a hard one to meet if you have to lug around pieces of paper to take notes. LifeShare was more than ready to automate this. But they wanted to go beyond just giving senior living communities what they needed to meet state requirements.  

In a nutshell, what they have developed is a game-changer for senior living communities as well as for family members, because it’s opened the door to information that was heretofore challenging to get. Melissa and Callie shared some of the key capabilities of Activity Participation Tracker:

  • At a glance, staff can see all the activities of the day on mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.). And, on the front end, when they program their activities, there is a wellness component. The staff member can also enter which “wellness dimension” the activity supports. 
  • Staff can check residents into each activity as they enter the room. 
  • Staff members can enter the level of participation they observe for each resident (passive or active). “So maybe one resident is not super involved. Are they having an off day? Or maybe they just don’t like it,” Melissa explains. “With this information, they can get more input from the resident to plan future activities.” 
  • Family members can remotely check-in, through a family manger account, and see not only activities but if their loved one is participating. “It’s a great way for family members to start the conversation. Instead of just asking ‘What did you do today?’ they can ask about a specific activity,” Melissa says. Callie adds, “This level of awareness inspires more conversation with caregivers and family members.”
  • Staff can produce reports by activity and by participant with level of participation totals for each. And there are several reports, Melissa tells me. “First, you can pull up all activities and see participation levels for each. How many active versus passive? Okay, here are my totals, but who exactly was there? To find out, you can tap and open a secondary report with a list of all participants and activity levels,” she explains. “Since you have the full information, you can explain things like a dip in participation levels.” Callie agrees. “This is a tool that really helps activity managers become more efficient.” 

What’s also great about these reports is that a separate report can be created for each resident, showing all the activities each has attended over time; from a week to a year. And staff can use it, not only internally, but to give to families in care plan meetings. 

“All of this aligns with the desire of so many senior living providers to move towards more person-centered care,” Callie says. “It provides another tool to do so.” 

And LifeShare isn’t stopping here. There is more to come for Activity Participation Tracker, according to both Melissa and Callie. “This is just our starting point,” Melissa tells me. “We want to get people using it; excited about giving us feedback. Then we’ll use that input to guide us forward.” 

Looking forward to seeing what’s next. 

For more information on Lifeshare Technologies, you can visit their website.