It’s remarkable how technology has and continues to transform our day-to-day lives. The fact that many of us own pocket-sized devices with the ability to connect with virtually anyone at any location on earth in real time is awe-inspiring. The advent of modern social networks and communication tools has truly transformed how we build and maintain relationships, and these changes know no generational bounds.
While younger generations are typically the earliest adopters, seniors are increasingly engaging with tech at a considerable rate. The latest Pew Research Center study on tech adoption among older adults is a testament to this. 42 percent of seniors 65 and older own smartphones, 67 percent of them use the internet, 34 percent use social media, and 32 and 19 percent own tablets and e-readers, respectively. As a firsthand witness to this phenomenon at Friendship Village Tempe, I can confidently say that these rates are only going to increase moving forward.
A key objective for senior living providers is to ensure seniors enjoy their retirement in the most comfortable and convenient environments possible. Achieving this increasingly depends on technology. With this in mind, Friendship Village brought Chief Information Officer Travis Saunders into the fold two years ago to spearhead our technological efforts. A CIO may seem like an unusual role at a retirement community, but his expertise has been invaluable.
In addition to offering the standard Wi-Fi accessibility, enhanced safety and security measures, and tech-related courses, we’ve introduced a customized mobile and desktop application with round-the-clock access to vital information for residents and team members. The app provides details on community events, dining menus, shuttle schedules and more. Residents can also send messages and schedule meetings with team members, and submit maintenance requests on the platform, which is accessible on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and iPads. With the redevelopment project currently underway at the community, we’ve also been using time-lapse video to record and showcase our progress — a big hit for prospects and residents alike.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg in the multitude of ways senior living communities can use technology to better connect with seniors. I’m a firm believer that every organization, no matter the industry, should actively be invested in improving its tech resources. At Friendship Village, we continuously monitor technology trends across the senior living landscape and beyond for tips and ideas on how we can better serve our residents. The communication and technological needs of seniors are always evolving, and our industry as a whole should be fully committed to catering to them in timely fashion.