There is a silent health crisis in the public after the hit of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that is social isolation. Serious health conditions like heart disease, depression, and dimension have been linked to loneliness. When you keep at-risk seniors in quarantine for long periods and safe from the virus, it has been done at the expense of having an enriched social life.
Even though most of the lockdowns have started to be lifted, some senior living communities still have modified social programming and family visits. The pandemic is not over with yet. Many seniors still feel much more comfortable with having limited interactions.
That is one place that technology can help. Many online platforms can provide seniors with a sense of purpose and allow connections instead of socializing in person.
Below are some of the best technological solutions that senior living communities have been using to help their seniors’ fight isolation.
Use voice technology for emotional support
Voice technology can significantly improve the daily lives of the elderly in quarantine areas. Easy-to-use smart speakers (such as Amazon Alexa) are handy for the elderly with visual impairments and disabilities, who may not be able to use other technological devices (such as smartphones and computers).
In addition to assisting in tasks like checking prescription statuses or maintenance requests, voice technology can eliminate isolation and loneliness. Smart speakers can let residents know about upcoming communities and social events. It can also adjust the recommended content according to the resident’s preferences, such as playing their favorite albums or recommending movies.
Online enrichment module represents community activities
Many high-end residential communities have built virtual programs to help residents continue to do what they like during the isolation period. Through live broadcasts and community portals on Zoom, event directors have found various events beneficial to online formats.
An example of this is John Knox Village. This is a life plan community located in Florida that uses an online platform to create virtual entertainment during isolation and keeps it updated when the community resumes some live events.
The community provides happy hours, book clubs, and birthday parties for residents on Zoom. It allows residents to listen to interesting online content such as virtual museum visits and TED talks.
Participating in technology keeps you away from loneliness
Technology cannot replace face-to-face contact, and as part of the elderly residential community resumes normal programming, this contact has begun to return safely. However, there is no news to say how it will develop in the coming months. Senior serving directors need to use flexible tools to support their residents’ health and overall health.
Senior living technologies and programming promote valuable opportunities for wealth during the quarantine period and in the future and even allow older people to connect and find new interests that may not have been before the pandemic.
Facilitate video conferencing and digital connections with loved ones
When visits and face-to-face community activities are suspended, exciting virtual programming is not the only way to avoid loneliness. Even if the elderly are remote, they still need to establish personal one-to-one connections. Video conferencing can achieve this.
For older people who have never used Zoom or FaceTime before, preparing to use a video call can be confusing. According to a survey of senior citizens, 55% of residents have never used video conferencing platforms before going into isolation due to COVID-19.
Full-time senior life staff can help residents navigate using these applications, and community communication platforms can be integrated with video platforms to handle plans on a large scale.
Staff can also encourage seniors and adult center participants to stay in touch through social media or community-specific online portals. When residents cannot see them, they can also make video calls with friends in the community.
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