From FaceTime to iPods, residents at senior living spaces embrace technology
Connected technology in our homes is fast becoming part of our daily routine. For good reason: it offers entertainment, convenience, connection to others, improved security and increased comfort. It’s also becoming routine in senior living communities. According to a survey by Pew Research, four in 10 older adults now use the internet and own smart phones — up 50 percent from four years ago.
As the president and CEO of Jewish Senior Life, a continuing care retirement community in Rochester, N.Y., I can say that our team’s experience has given us a strong understanding of how technology can help enrich the lives of those we serve.
From email and webcams that connect with family and friends, and games and puzzles that stimulate minds, to technology-enhanced rehabilitation programs that improve hand-eye coordination, residents with a wide range of physical and cognitive abilities are now enjoying technologies adapted just for them. Even those who’ve never used a computer before.
Through technology, they’re able to continue learning, socializing and doing the things they enjoy doing, which helps them stay engaged, informed, in touch and in control.
These technologies also help foster relationships between staff and residents, who enjoy using them together.
Keeping Lines of Communication and Connection Open
Older adults are increasingly adept with laptops, tablets and smartphones. Many of our residents enjoy using platforms like Skype and FaceTime to keep in touch with family members and longtime friends. Video chatting is more personable than a phone call and allows our residents to be “present” at milestone occasions, such as birthday parties, school performances, graduation ceremonies and weddings.
Whether they’re taking a lifelong learning course, engaging in social media, listening to podcasts or paying bills, today’s older adults want ready access to all that the internet has to offer. Just like they did at home.
Hey Google, When is My Therapy Appointment?
One of the many technology devices we rely on at Jewish Senior Life is Google Home. It’s a voice-activated smart speaker. Our transitional care (short-term rehabilitation) patients enjoy using it during their stays to get instant access to information such as the weather forecast, history and current events, as well as where they need to be when. In short, it helps them stay connected to their hobbies and interests, and on top of their schedule.
Other devices that are increasingly common in assisted living centers, retirement communities and medical facilities include:
Music, the Universal Language
Many people living in a long-term care residence face cognitive and physical difficulties and have left behind their familiar surroundings, familiar faces and even their favorite music.
We have 65 iPods loaded with MUSIC & MEMORY®, a personalized music software program, which helps them find renewed meaning and connection in their lives in the present and helps them reconnect with their past.
We find it also helps residents relax during sundowning — a symptom of dementia in which an individual experiences late-day confusion or agitation. Hearing pieces of music they know gives them a sense of calm, a sense of peace, puts them at ease. It reminds them of what they were like before they had dementia. And since music is the universal language, the MUSIC & MEMORY program also helps eliminate communication hurdles.
Smart Technology Isn’t a Luxury, It’s a Must-Have
Given the rapid pace at which today’s older adults are embracing technology, and all that it enables them to do, from connecting with grandchildren to playing Scrabble and solitaire to reconnecting with their best selves, the role of connected technology in senior living communities will only increase in prominence.
It can be a wonderful companion and a way to keep the mind stimulated and engaged. Technology can also be a great distraction and source of comfort and help older residents cope and adapt to cognitive and physical challenges.
If you’re considering a move to senior living for yourself or a family member, be sure to ask what technologies are available to the residents and staff. The benefits they bring are immeasurable.
Source: NextAvenue.org Article by Mike King, President and CEO of Jewish Senior Life in Rochester, New York 9/10/2018
Louise Rausa, 72, lived in world-class cities including Paris and New York, and she spent part of her adulthood in co-housing communities in the western United States where residents shared a kitchen, garden and outdoor space.
So when it was time to retire, there was little chance that a sedate retirement community would make a suitable destination for the active, now-single Rausa, who shares her knowledge of cuisine in workshops for neighbors and regularly hosts her grandchildren.
A little over two years ago, the former registered nurse opted for an apartment in North Hollywood, Calif.’s NoHo Senior Arts Colony, where hallways are a rotating gallery, studio space is available for residents to mix their own paints and a theater occupies the ground floor. In true Angelino style, Rausa owns a car and parks it on site, but she can walk around her high-density neighborhood or take mass transit.
The downsides? “There could be more grab bars [for support], and the rent goes up about $35 a month every year. For [neighbors] on a limited income, that does not keep up with COLA [the annual cost-of-living adjustment].”
In fact, that estimation may be understating what has been a steady creep higher for senior housing costs, especially in robust real-estate markets such as California, where the Department of Housing and Urban Development has allowed subsidized senior rents to float higher, capped at increases of 11% a year, alongside price gains in the overall market, says Michelle Coulter, director of artist housing, with Meta Housing, the developer of the NoHo project.
Little doubt it’s the evolving priorities of Rausa and her contemporaries, including the financial burdens associated with living longer than prior generations did, that challenges a U.S. formula for senior housing that hadn’t changed much in decades. Yet if the demanding, savvy-consumer baby boomers taking over where their Depression-era parents left off have their say on where and how they live as they age — and geriatrics experts say they do — the era of grin-and-bear-it acquiescence is no more.
Today’s target market for senior housing comprises a large and influential demographic. The number of households with people age 80 and over jumped 71% from 4.4 million in 1990 to 7.5 million in 2016, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies in its “Housing America’s Older Adults” report. As baby boomers age, the number of households in this group will more than double by 2037.
Many of today’s best available senior-housing options are really a nod to the past: higher-density locales, homes suited for multiple generations, and community support and stimulation that keeps retirees active and healthy.
Until recently, U.S. senior-housing solutions have largely consisted of cookie-cutter developments demanding big upfront deposits from residents who might eventually face a new round of stress in seeking high-level, and usually expensive, nursing-home care elsewhere, says Jane O’Connor, principal at 55 Plus LLC in Charlemont, Mass., a consultancy focused on senior housing and lifestyles.
The cost of long-term-care insurance has skyrocketed due to factors including actuarial longevity and persistently low interest rates hurting insurers’ portfolios. That means, in many cases, when an individual can no longer live alone or rely on a spouse or partner, the next stage for care has mostly involved uprooting seniors to move in with family members who had not banked on the arrangement.
Reliving your 20s? Yes, and no
It’s clear that the U.S. is little match for Europe when it comes to rethinking elder care. The Netherlands, for instance, is home to a memory-care village, a complete indoor-outdoor community for dementia patients. Holland has also piloted a program pairing affordable-housing-seeking college students as roommates with companion-seeking seniors.
The needs and likes of these age groups aren’t so varied. In fact, it’s where, as much as how, seniors live that may take a page from the millennial and Generation Z handbook: a migration back into cities and denser suburbs for an active lifestyle and readily available services, according to architecture firm Perkins Eastman. In a survey it conducted in early 2019, 26% of client firms that build and redevelop properties for seniors says they believe boomers will be most concerned with living in proximity to an urban location or town center, up from 19% in 2017.
Evergreen Real Estate Group in Chicago, for example, is developing two urban projects that include a technology-focused, all-ages public library and media center on the ground floor topped by three stories of affordable senior rental apartments.
Annual income for eligibility is capped at $38,000 per person. Some units are supported with rental-assistance subsidies, while others rent at $740 monthly for a one-bedroom and $890 for a two-bedroom apartment. In at least one instance, a green roof and a terrace inject outdoor space, while a busy public-transit corridor and a substantial public park with tennis courts, ice rink and other programming are easily reachable.
“There is certainly a move back to the city among a lot of groups, including a population of seniors who maybe left when they had kids, but always wanted to move back,” says David Block, director of development at Chicago’s Evergreen. “It’s part of a broader move in real-estate development that says the way we built cities, with commercial space below and then we lived ‘above the store,’ so to speak, well, there’s a certain amount of wisdom in that.”
What’s more, builders and remodelers in urban, suburban and rural destinations alike are increasingly meeting seniors where they already live, creating space to entertain grandchildren, installing the bulk of kitchen storage at reduced heights and creating barrier-free entries that are seamless with the landscape, says O’Connor of 55 Plus in Massachusetts.
How technology is helping
And then there is a rethinking of senior housing at the personal level. Technology, especially leveraging the sharing economy, can help satisfy boomers who want to age in place or are rightfully demanding more from their assisted-living options. (Think of services spanning Uber or Lyft rides to in-home wellness programming.)
“Transportation-on-demand, dining-on-demand and online learning are all trends that really play well in the senior market,” says Dan Hutson, a long-time strategist in the senior-housing space. He was with HumanGood, in Pleasanton, Calif., one of the U.S.’s largest senior-living-community owners and operators, when he talked to MarketWatch earlier this spring. He has since left the organization.
“Giving priority to voice-first technology [such as Amazon’s Alexa and its rivals] over even mobile-first technology is tailor-made to serve older adults,” said Hutson.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Age Lab, in a report, showed that for a single 85-year-old homeowner living without significant physical or financial distress and without a mortgage, the total cost of living at home using sharing-economy services for one month was $2,967. Compare that with an assisted-living model in the Boston metropolitan area (including meals and housekeeping), which runs $6,433 a month. The report did discover a tech learning curve, especially given how fast next-generation updates are required, and conceded that security and privacy compromises were off-putting for some.
The sharing economy has a place at the provider level, too, said Hutson. “With food delivery, who says that a senior-living community even has to have a commercial kitchen? Or a fleet of vans? You can virtualize a lot of that and reallocate those dollars to other aspects.”
And in health care, virtual exchanges will only gain in popularity. Telehealth — video check-ins or the use of monitoring technology to share information with a health-care professional — is already filling gaps in rural communities. It reduces transportation barriers for seniors and mitigates health-care costs by, for example, reducing emergency-room visits for more easily diagnosed ailments and blood-pressure checkups, all toward the end of helping seniors remain in their homes. In early 2019, AT&T, for one, rolled out a smartwatch, OnePulse, designed with telehealth and remote patient-monitoring capabilities.
Powerful Wi-Fi connectivity and personal technology also influence much of the design in higher-income senior housing, says Justin Dickinson, vice president of investments with CA Senior Living LLC. The Chicago-based company has luxury retirement complexes in several major U.S. markets typically available to singles or couples with incomes well over the $35,000 household median at age 75 (according to U.S. Census data) and funded in part by a home sale, other investments and income, or long-term-care insurance. On the recreational side, active-lifestyle technologies can mean golf simulators. But there are health and security applications as well: geospatial intelligence wearables for residents — similar to Fitbit exercise trackers — which can help with fall prevention, wandering neighbors, even appointment reminders.
‘Aging in community’
Many seniors say they prefer “aging in place” instead of moving in with family or packing up for multistage assisted living. Amy Schectman, chief executive officer at 2Life Communities, which serves the housing needs of about 1,500 mostly low-income seniors in the Boston area, says “aging in community” is more important. That’s because isolation is a serious health danger. It’s a bigger threat than obesity and smoking, and can double the rate of dementia, she says.
Inclusion, says Schectman, can present itself in the most low-tech of ways. She recalls resident “Rose,” a dementia sufferer who maintained a social life in a 2Life facility simply because friends of long standing kept a weekly date on Mondays for a mock bridge game to provide her companionship, and then played a competitive game on Tuesdays without her.
For budget-minded Schectman, her sharing-economy approach is micro; she’s piloting a program in which residents take on roles in reception, dining or continuing education, for instance, in order to cut down on the costs of paying for staff in those positions and at the same time reinforcing a sense of community.
For some seniors, the multistep model of transitioning from independent living to assisted living to intensive nursing and memory care, but all on the same campus, will be the best and only option. That’s true for Phillip Beluscheck and his wife, Marilyn, both 89 and living since 2017 in Aspired Living of Westmont, outside of Chicago, after 50-plus years in the same family home.
Their move, endorsed by Phillip Beluscheck as “no place is perfect, but this is pretty close,” was expedited in part as a boomer daughter began splitting time between Florida and Illinois. And, importantly, their selection could be financed by Beluscheck’s careful retirement planning. The former executive at General Motors — who now regularly educates an Aspired Living audience on the technology behind driverless cars — collects a corporate pension, supplemented by the sale of the couple’s nearby suburban home and an income-generating stock portfolio to cover a $7,400-a-month apartment. The new home features a kitchenette, any-time meal service in a community dining room, maintenance, shuttle service, fitness facilities and programming, and some medical checkups and prescription management, among other amenities.
Being mindful of affordability, service quality and socialization will drive the impetus for crafting coming decades’ menu of senior housing solutions. That includes variety in multistep models, looser zoning for multigenerational homes, as well as a resourceful sharing economy and neighborhood services.
“The 1990s was a big explosion of continuing-care retirement communities, [where] design was predetermined, and you had to buy in early with a hefty deposit. They were tribal — like the country-club set — but boomers don’t like this model,” O’Connor of 55 Plus says.
“These are the children [raised by] the ‘Because I say so’ generation,” says O’Connor. In rebellion, and with many more options, “they’re going to retire just how they want.”
Source: MarketWatch article by Rachel Koning Beals, News Editor 8/4/2019
This month LM Hurley & Associates Executive Recruiting and Consulting celebrates two decades of providing excellence in recruiting for the Senior Living Industry.
San Diego, CA, April 2, 2019 - This month LM Hurley & Associates Executive Recruiting and Consulting celebrates two decades of providing excellence in recruiting for the Senior Living Industry.
Twenty years ago LM Hurley & Associates Executive Recruiting and Consulting was founded by Lauren Hurley to provide executive recruiting services exclusively to the Senior Housing Sector. The company was built on quality service by forming partnerships with clients for successful and efficient solutions to talent acquisition challenges. Creativity, flexibility, resources, and experience have resulted in making LM Hurley & Associates Executive Recruiting one of the most successful recruiting providers in the industry.
The strong partnerships developed by LM Hurley & Associates Executive Recruiting have resulted in a thorough understanding of the needs of client organizations as well as an in-depth knowledge of their corporate culture. Professionalism, diligence, ethics, and integrity are the hallmarks of each search and staffing process.
Principles of LM Hurley & Associates Executive Recruiting are Lauren Hurley and Frank Duncan. Lauren Hurley and Frank Duncan have completed an approved 40 hour Administrator Certification course and have passed the state exam required to become an RCFE (Residential Care Facility for the Elderly), Administrator. Certification has enabled them to provide clients additional value in executive search service. The RCFE certification has served to widen industry expertise and understanding of client’s needs and the seniors they serve.
Founder, Lauren Hurley is native of Massachusetts. She moved to San Diego in 1988 and holds a bachelors degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University. Lauren started as a recruiter for a generalist firm where she specialized in the Investment Industry. She headed up a new recruiting division and successfully placed senior level executives on a national scale after being recruited as a Vice President for a national career counseling and outplacement firm. Lauren also was an on-site Recruiting Consultant for The Anthony Robbins Company. Lauren has received numerous honors based on her achievements as a top performer and was awarded a national recruiting firm's coveted Outstanding Recruiter of the Year Award several times during her tenure.
Lauren has personal experience working with her father to find assisted living and memory care for both him and her mother. She did extensive research and interviewed numerous senior housing communities for her parents as well as for family members and friends. Her experience has made her the go-to person for her family, friends, and neighbors when their loved ones need senior care.
After these personal experiences with her Mother’s Alzheimer’s disease and her Father’s need for extensive care, Lauren felt passionate about the care of all seniors. As a result, LM Hurley & Associates Executive Recruiting was formed by Lauren to create an executive search firm she envisioned would offer a specialized service to her clients and candidates. She saw a need within the Senior Housing Industry to find the best candidates who are also professional and passionate about the care of seniors.
About LM Hurley & Associates
LM Hurley & Associates is a national Executive Search firm with over 40 years of combined recruiting experience, dedicated exclusively to the Senior Housing sector. It recruits high caliber corporate candidates ranging from President, CEO and Regional VP, to Executive Directors or Administrators at the facility level. The firm recruits across the full spectrum of senior housing including Independent Living, Assisted Living, Alzheimer’s Facilities, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), Skilled Nursing Facilities, Hospice, and Home Healthcare. Clients include large public corporations, privately held companies, and not-for-profit organizations. For additional information on the company please visit www.LMHurley.com.
Senior Living Recruiting is what we do.
LM Hurley & Associates Executive Recruiting