To make a blanket statement that senior living facilities’ residents demand technologies limited to video surveillance and nurse calling systems isn’t looking at the full spectrum. Many options can benefit certain residents, however may be a bit too intensive for the whole community. Although assisted living is a component of some centers, there are more independent residents who can see improvement from facility technology and construction beyond the cookie cutter senior safety options. As we approach a new year and senior living property managers research new capabilities, there are many that can improve quality of life in SLAs outside the more medically centered options. I’ve gathered research from a few outlets, but also was able to learn feedback from the JH Greene team’s interaction with these facilities. Here’s some diverse options that have strong life improvement potential:
1. Prompt Communication Mediums
Imagine news has to be communicated quickly to all residents immediately. Word of mouth and other time consuming methods can add risk when time is of the essence. Digital messaging systems can allow a broadcasted message displaying information across televisions in residents’ suites as well as public areas, all at once.
2. Service Documentation and Ticketing Documentation
Maintenance teams are resolving countless issues each day. Whatever form this may take, these resolutions need to be noted properly so that any recurring problems can be addressed. What leads to extra quality delivered is when these ‘tickets’ are tracked within a system that is organized and easy to use. This not only refines internal communication and provides details for improvement, but also enhances resident satisfaction.
3. Accept Feedback as a Means to Advancement
Although both independent and assisted living areas have the same ADA features required by code, there are additions/modifications that still uphold regulation, but draw in feedback from the benefits and short fallings in use. In order to step up these features (grab bars in showers, accessible environmental controls, hallway railways, etc.), facility management needs to understand this feedback through a more involved ‘suggestion box’ type solicitation. ADA compliance is key, and without hindering these requirements, improvements are a sign of prioritizing resident wellbeing.
4. Don’t Overlook Aesthetic Cues and Design
A local design firm, DesignPoint, understands the importance of upholding resident needs, but is familiar with achieving this goal through somewhat unconventional means. In one renovation project outlined, the firm aimed to have as minimal of an interruption to resident life as possible. Overall, their endeavor for one senior living facility focused on creating a more comfortable, home-like feel for residents and a more productive space for staff. This required shifting the placement of nurses’ med carts to avoid interrupting foot traffic and causing confusion. During this project, the firm established stations for these carts that were cohesive with the composition of the décor. Along with this, staff working areas were blended and modernized with the rest of the units. Small adaptations can go a long way in these facilities. When resident safety and worker productivity are dictated by design and construction of senior living spaces, the replacement and adjustment of minor features is an easy decision.
5. Staff Training Technologies
An LMS (learning management system) is a very helpful tool in piecing together faculty credentials. Through providing education sessions and having a record of attendees, policies are clearer and the community is able to gain credibility by building on this practice. To make these capabilities visible via signage or public announcement rotating carousel in general areas instills a sense of pride and consideration for occupant needs.
Simple upgrades and enhancements are driving positive results in 2017 for SLAs. While senior living shifts from a healthcare model to a hospitality frame of mind, design and construction are exponentially profitable areas of attention.