Aging is often coupled with major life changes. Whether those changes are physical or emotional, research indicates that feelings of loneliness, boredom, and isolation typically surface. A University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) study found that participants 60 years old and older who reported feeling lonely saw a 45% increase in their risk of death. Additional research has indicated that these feelings are contagious and are also directly linked to high blood pressure, depression, and pessimism.
Technology may be a larger part of the answer than previously realized. More than 50% of seniors are already accessing the Internet and the usage is anticipated to increase to over 70% in 2020, and up to 90% by 2030. Newly designed, interactive resident engagement technologies could be a solution to many premature health declines.
How can seniors and care providers combat loneliness, boredom, and isolation by using interactive resident engagement technologies?
- Solution must have senior-friendly interfaces designed for each level of care.
- No search and find mazes – All personalized and community information should be sent to residents rather than asking residents to navigate technology for their details.
- Allow residents to make tech their own – Tablet front screen favorites, resident created social groups/activities, digital memory boxes, and personal apps for all connected to the senior. Utilization should be a primary part of their day and tied to daily living activities.
- Meet seniors where they are in relation to usage. Intimidation is a primary reason seniors are resistant to technology. As providers, we should be mindful that different age groups and ability levels within the boomer population have dramatically different skill sets in relation to technology.
By embracing innovative resident solutions we are able to interact more, intervene earlier, and create more active and welcoming environments for seniors to thrive. If you would like more information on these types of technologies, please contact Delaine Blazek at Dblazek@oneviewhealthcare.com