An overwhelming majority of people want to stay in their own homes as they age, and a recent MetLife Mature Market Institute study shows that 83% of retiring boomers have no plans to move from their current home. It’s becoming increasingly important, then, to find ways to provide senior care wherever senior housing exists, whether it’s in a specific community or within an individual’s home, and some companies are turning to technology to expand client base.
Intel-GE Care Innovations has created several products senior living providers can use to reach out to individuals in the community: QuietCare, Connect, and Guide.
“What we’re trying to do is provide technology consulting services to our customers to help them live as independently as possible, or empower them to care for someone in that situation,” said Jim Pursley, general manager of Intel-GE Care Innovations. “This could be someone living at home on their own, or at a [senior living] community.”
Care Innovations’ focus is well-being and early prevention, with products that seek to address challenges seniors might face when living alone as far as their health and safety.
“The residents who are moving today into senior housing are looking very different than they did a few years ago. It’s going to force senior housing providers to invest in new care models and new technology, and to do things differently,” Pursley says. Seniors moving into communities at later ages will have different (and more acute) care needs than those who might move in for hospitality or lifestyle reasons, he adds. And the question du jour must be: How do we navigate this transformation of clientele?
Preventing Hospitalizations by Remote Monitoring
Care Innovations’ QuietCare uses a wireless platform that can be used in both senior housing and in-home care to provide information about the safety and security of an individual. It can detect and alert caregivers to falls or changes in behavior, which can help retain residents by detecting emergencies sooner and preventing hospitalizations.
“Technology like this is being used to be very proactive and intentional about caring for that increased-acuity resident we’re seeing more and more in senior housing,” says Pursley.
Keeping residents out of hospitals is especially important as a recent study showed hospitalization of older people can lead to accelerated cognitive decline. Additionally, with the movement toward a managed care model rather than fee-for-service, it’s important for senior housing and care providers to demonstrate positive outcomes for residents in order to establish partnerships with other providers along the continuum of care.
Connecting At-Home Residents to Promote Social Interaction
A second Intel-GE Care Innovations product, Connect, provides a portal to allow senior living communities to virtually engage with residents who either reside within or outside of a community. It allows residents to virtually connect with each other to provide social interaction, and also provides remote access to a wellness coach.
Social engagement and cognitive health are big pieces in the overall health and well-being of a senior, says Pursley, and regular personal interactions are crucial.
“As people get frailer and have more needs, we can’t necessarily keep upping staff; it’s not a good model,” he says. “However, we can use technology to help us maintain and improve quality, and keep that connection [between community administrators and residents].”
Maintaining Health and Combatting the Effects of Rising Acuity
The Guide product is a telehealth hub that’s designed specifically to engage seniors with one or more chronic diseases, like congestive heart failure or diabetes. The system can help prevent emergency episodes or flare-ups of certain conditions and can also help prevent hospitalizations by remotely monitoring symptoms and making sure residents are compliant with their medication routines.
“The Care Innovations portfolio effectively helps senior housing providers to address the challenge of rising acuity,” Pursley says. “There’s a broad spectrum of providers who want to use this; some are pretty progressive and are looking toward the future. Some are feeling the pressure, and aren’t exactly sure how to respond to trends of higher age and acuity.”
He says there’s been a “significant uptick” of activity in the service line/labor redesign space, and a number of providers are working to develop and implement programs that are inclusive of aging in place.
And while for-profits traditionally saw aging in place as a threat to business, they’re now seeing it as an opportunity.
“With everything threat comes an enormous opportunity, and how do you capitalize on that?” Pursley says.
Written by Alyssa Gerace
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