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Upgrade Senior Care Facilities with Smart Technology April 11th, 2022

Upgrade Senior Care Facilities with Smart Technology

As the European senior population grows, investors are looking to enhance senior care facilities' operational efficiency and resident experiences.

The European senior living and care home market had an influx of about €15bn in investments in 2019 and 2020, and more than €4bn in Q1 and Q2 2021 – a record-breaking six-month total. Property advisor Savills cites the growing senior population as one of the reasons that senior care facilities have captured investors' attention – by 2050, analysts estimate that 30 percent of Europe's population will be age 65 or older, compared to only 20 percent in 2021. Additionally, the population aged 80 and older will grow from 6 percent to 11 percent in 2050. Furthermore, the impact of the pandemic has underscored the need for senior care facilities to adapt processes to strengthen health safety to protect residents.  

Fortunately, IT solutions providers can design solutions that leverage smart technologies to help senior care facilities manage housing, deliver services, enhance safety, and provide the best possible care.  

Smart Technology for Senior Care Facilities 

Technology solutions that leverage artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and data analysis can provide senior care facilities with the tools and insights they need to optimize: 

Telehealth 

Solutions providers can equip rooms with monitors, cameras, speakers, and microphones that allow residents to attend virtual appointments with their physicians. Additionally, residents can wear sensors that monitor vital signs and send data for analysis with AI that spots conditions that require immediate attention and alerts healthcare providers. By offering these services, senior care facilities can provide their residents with the convenience of telehealth, minimize the need to travel to appointments, and support preventive care.  

Physical access control  

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May senior care facility residents are free to come and go as they please; however, some residents with memory impairment or other conditions may need to have their activity monitored. Solutions providers can implement smart cameras that recognize residents and alert staff if they leave areas where they typically live and participate in activities.  

Protecting residents from intruders is also crucial. Smart systems can monitor the perimeter of a facility and alert security, day or night, if someone is attempting to enter without permission. Visitor management systems can also quickly confirm that people within the facility are authorized and verify their identity if necessary. 

Communications and engagement 

Residents at senior care facilities can feel removed from the people in their lives – and the COVID-19 pandemic created even more of a barrier. AI can make communications platforms more accessible for seniors to use. For example, smart technology can adapt a touchscreen solution to users, helping them turn on and recognize speech rather than requiring them to use a keyboard to video chat with a family member or friend.  

Smart digital signage or touchscreen kiosks can also provide senior care facility residents with easy ways to get the information they need, request assistance, or even order a personal care item or items from a restaurant menu.  

In addition, senior care facilities may enhance engagement with voice assistants and smart home devices. Residents can simply ask questions to check the weather or access other information, lock their doors – or even play a favorite song. Smart technology can keep seniors connected and enhance enjoyment in their day-to-day routines. 

Remember, 40 Will Be the New 70 

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With senior care facility investors focused on 2050, less than 30 years in the future, facilities should prepare for a new generation of residents who have used technology for most of their lives. They will expect to continue to use technology to stay connected and make life easier at the facility as it did when they lived in their homes.  

Solutions providers have the opportunity to help senior care facilities implement solutions that can enhance operations and residents' experiences today. You can also help your clients build a roadmap for extending the facility's IT environment in the future to meet the expectations of today's middle-aged adults who will someday move to the senior care facility.

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