There are various reasons that residents decide to move to senior living, from comfort and security to increasing care needs. Many choose a move to senior housing to avoid isolation, yet the move itself can feel isolating—at first.
Communities work hard to engage residents, creating innovative activities to capture their attention and bring them together socially. Providers oftentimes have trouble getting the word out to residents because of outdated communication methods, like paper posters or flyers. Due to limited communication methods, family members might not have any idea of what their loved ones are doing on a daily basis, aside from the occasional newsletter sent to them or scarce details shared during phone calls or visits.
But some providers are finding they can streamline communications for residents while also engaging family members outside the community through the use of technology solutions.
River Road Retirement Residence, an independent and assisted living facility in Niagara Falls, Ontario, had no formal means of communicating with residents to engage them, and didn’t have a technology portal to facilitate easy connections with the outside world. The community relied heavily on the front desk staff to answer questions from residents and visitors. There was often confusion about the time or location of an activity or event, and families were left in the dark, too.
In an effort to streamline communication and cut down on confusion, River Road recently turned to InTouchLink, a system aimed at keeping senior living residents, families and staff engaged, trained and up-to-date. They wanted to connect via custom TV channels, digital bulletin boards, online staff onboarding and more.
With an efficient system that displays content in common areas and in resident suites on their TVs, as well as through a resident and family portal accessible online, information at River Road is updated in real time. This gives residents and families instant access to accurate and up-to-date details. Families can tune into the schedule too, providing a conversation starter for the next time they call or visit a resident.
River Road has seen tremendous improvements when it comes to communication, and therefore engagement, because of the community’s updated strategy, says John Deyman, General Manager at River Road. Resident participation in activities increased by more than 25%, and the staff saves close to 30 hours per month in productivity, because workers aren’t spending as much time making changes to menus, activity calendars and more. Family members have even reported having better conversations with their loved ones and feeling more connected.
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“It improves morale, because residents are better informed, and there’s more of a buzz here—it develops more of a community feel,” Deyman says.
River Road’s experience mirrors that of many providers who have relied upon technology to solve communication issues. In an independent study conducted by In Initiative Inc., before InTouchLink was introduced at 11 retirement and 17 long-term care communities in North America, 88% of residents and families were extremely dissatisfied with communication, according to survey results. After InTouchLink was implemented, 62% indicated very good or better communication, while 52% noticed marked improvement in communication among staff, residents and families.
Aside from advantages experienced by staff, family members and residents, the technology platform also benefited the senior living community as a whole.
“We’ve found that using this technology helps differentiate ourselves from the competition—other communities might not have this level of technology for communication,” Deyman says. “When a tour is conducted, potential residents and their families see the benefit of it in their world.”
This article is sponsored by InTouchLink, the premier platform for resident engagement and family satisfaction in senior living, with custom community TV channels, a family portal and printable calendars / menus. InTouchLink keeps residents and families in the loop while simultaneously driving operational and staff efficiencies.
Written by Kourtney Liepelt