Seniors today are looking for high-tech offerings in their residences, and builders and developers need to take note. From wireless availability to health monitoring systems, technology is one of the key trends in the senior housing industry, both now and in the future.
“What we’re seeing, especially in assisted living, is that seniors are beginning to ask for wireless,” said Freddi Flax, a principal with RICKSTEPHAN & Associates, a senior housing consulting firm. “We’re all getting more tech-friendly, and seniors are no different.”
Flax emphasizes that seniors and their families see wireless access as more of a necessity than a luxury, since the computer is a way to get information, connect with family members, and go through daily life.
“It’s becoming more like a television,” Flax said. “They turn on the TV for news, but they’ll also go to the computer.”
Even before they get to a facility, seniors and their families are turning to websites for information, and increasingly these sites need to be interactive and engaging in order to get them to visit and find out more information.
Once they move in, seniors are increasingly using smartphones and other mobile devices to track their health and communicate with friends and families, and there are many apps available geared specifically toward seniors and their needs, including everything from health-monitoring apps to medical information apps. They’re also using e-book readers, tablets, and other digital technology, and so facilities need to consider having tech-savvy employees on staff who can help them when they run into technological glitches.
Seniors and their families are also looking for high-tech gadgetry in their rooms and facilities, including health sensors, monitors, and computer-based tracking of medications and care. The more cutting-edge its built-in technology, the more appealing the residence—since seniors and families know that the more technologically-advanced a facility is, the better care it will be able to provide.
“There are always advances on the medical technology end,” said Flax. “I see it as a real plus.”
Gone are the days, in other words, when only teenagers were wired. Seniors are as high-tech as anyone, and they expect retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes to have all the amenities of home. And increasingly, those amenities include wireless access, gadgets, and gear.
Written By Vivian Wagner