Technology has the power to connect people across distances – both long and short. Smartphones and tablets allow us to share photos across the globe or to video chat with anyone, anywhere. These technological advances offer many opportunities for seniors as well. However, a recent Pew Research Center study found that older adults are late adopters of technology and there is a significant drop off in the use of technology for seniors over 75 who could benefit most for tech tools. Our Spring Arbor Senior Living team members recognized this challenge, but believed that there were options to integrate senior living technology into their residents’ lives in small, yet profound ways.
We’re big believers that the best idea wins and when faced with a challenge, we look for the best solution. That solution came in the form of a partnership between Spring Arbor Living and K4 Connect to develop a new K4 Community Initiative with our Spring Arbor communities. The initiative involved senior living technology that was rolled out in select communities at the end of last year and has been a huge success thus far. The K4 Community program gives assisted living residents their own tablet to communicate with loved ones, control the temperature and lighting in their rooms, see menu items and get alerts about community activities. Spring Arbor team members provide an orientation/training session for residents and their loved ones to learn about this program. After a brief introduction, they’re off and running!
Becky Vance, executive director, and Shelby Kline, wellness and program coordinator, at Spring Arbor of Greensboro praised the initiative and use of senior living technology. They noted that each of the residents use some components on the tablet, and at least 15 residents use all the features… and there are a lot of features! Residents and their loved ones can communicate via text message, photo sharing, and video chats. The apps are easy to use and straightforward. An added benefit is that family members can download the K4 Community app on their smartphone or tablet to stay connected to their loved ones, even when they’re halfway across the world. In fact, one resident’s daughter is taking a trip to Puerto Rico and will be able to video chat with her mom while on vacation! The personalized tablets also allow residents to interact with loved ones through games. Residents can even get updates about activities and what’s for dinner on their tablets (one of the most popular uses).
The K4 Community program also empowers residents to have more control over their environment. They can set the thermostat for their room from the tablet or change the temperature for a certain time period (for example, they prefer their room to be cooler at night when they sleep). The tablets can assist with room lights – including the bathroom. Perhaps most important is the wide array of enhanced safety features that come along with the tablets. A centralized dashboard allows community managers to track residents and communicate with them through the tablet. Additionally, the program has capabilities with sensors under each resident’s bed that can record when a resident is sleeping and monitor if residents are sleeping too much or not enough – detecting motion at night. The tablets even connect to pedometers that all assisted living residents receive so they can view how many steps are taken in a certain timeframe.
Shelby recently noted that the tablets and program have been a wonderful addition to the community and a great way to utilize senior living technology to make a difference in the lives of residents, loved ones, and team members!
We believe it’s how you live that matters and technology can be a powerful tool to help us live fuller and more connected lives. In fact, this program ensures that residents in our Spring Arbor communities receive the best care possible that is tailored to their specific needs. Contact a Spring Arbor community near you to learn more.