The Evolution of Senior Living Technology

    

Multi-generation family taking a selfie on digital tablet in living room at home-1

 
Senior living communities have changed significantly over the last several years. Not only are seniors living longer—on average, a man who turns 65 today can expect to live to 84, and a woman who turns 65 today can expect to live to 86.5—but today’s seniors are also much more technologically proficient than their counterparts were a decade ago. More seniors are moving into communities with smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other wireless gadgets, and the number of devices will only increase as time goes on.
What’s more, the rise of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+ means that senior living community networks need to accommodate more traffic than ever before. This is especially true because on the vendor side, senior living community staff are also increasingly relying on technology for activity tracking, staff safety, mobile communications, and more. Integrating technology into the senior living experience is rapidly becoming essential—something that’s no longer simply a nice-to-have.
 
The importance of properties keeping up with technology is stressed by Chris Harper, Vice President of Communication at The Arbor Company, a senior living community with more than 40 communities in 11 states:
“Today’s seniors are becoming more and more tech-savvy. And senior living communities have to keep up to remain competitive. High speed internet, Wi-Fi, and other forms of connectivity are no longer an amenity, they are the expected norm. It is important for us to invest in technology infrastructure in our communities so that we remain ready for the next generation of seniors and the technology they bring.”
Supporting all of these devices and all of this network traffic requires one major thing: a solid, stable, and reliable network. The main priority of any senior living community is ensuring residents enjoy a comfortable life at the property. If everyone’s using mobile devices but the Internet speed is excruciatingly slow, how can a property manager expect to fulfill that mission? As Baby Boomers and Gen Xers move into senior living communities, the need for an innovative technology vendor will become even more pronounced.
 
Some of the biggest technology-driven changes in the world of senior living can be found in the evolution of television services and the increased ubiquity of Wi-Fi access for residents.
 

For many years, TV services in senior living communities were generally looked at as a utility. You could offer your residents a standard cable package and that was enough. However, more senior living community administrators are realizing that video services today are evolving into more than a utility—they’re closer to an amenity.

Today, television no longer has to be offered in a standard package of channels. Instead, it can be a customized experience that fits the exact needs and desires of a community and its residents. For example, you could create a customized community channel that serves as a place to share announcements and information about community activities. Offering residents a hand-picked lineup of channels and allowing them to upgrade services as they see fit are also ways to enhance the resident experience.
 
A successful technology implementation must be built on the foundation of a strong network. Wi-Fi is still a growing trend in senior living, but it’s quickly becoming a necessity because of the rise of streaming video services as well as wearable technologies and in-home assistants. As residents increasingly become reliant upon these kinds of services and products, it’s becoming more apparent that properties need to offer residents increased access.
 
Unfortunately, you can’t simply decide to start offering higher-quality television services and faster Wi-Fi and expect great results. As technology continues to evolve, network demands will accelerate. Without a fundamental converged network in place, it will be next to impossible for properties to keep pace with their competitors that are able to offer exemplary digital experiences to their residents. Even if they end up offering new services, chances are those services will be frustratingly slow because of too much strain on the network.
 
To impress residents, increase competitiveness, and modernize their offerings, senior living properties need to move to high-end converged networks that provide the underlying foundation they need to deliver high-quality data, video, and voice offerings.
 
The easiest way to accomplish this is by partnering with a provider that specializes in delivering all of those offerings as a custom engineered solution—instead of working with three independent vendors in a piecemeal fashion. A converged network solution provides you with the benefits of simplified vendor management, reduced total cost of ownership, improved performance, and system scalability while your residents enjoy all the advantages of updated technology.

 

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