The world is a very different place than it was, say, 20 years ago. Back then we still used paper maps to find our way. Now our phones guide us without having to read a TripTik and keep our eyes on the road at the same time.
Change, as they say, is inevitable. New technologies are changing the way we work, live and connect. From smart speakers and telehealth to Zoom meetings and FaceTime chats, new technologies are making life easier and safer for seniors. Especially now when keeping your distance is key to staying healthy.
With the threat of the coronavirus pushing senior living technology to the forefront, older adults have been quick to adopt new technologies to stay connected, informed and entertained. Here’s a look at some of the emerging senior living technology trends.
Most seniors want to stay in their homes for as long as they possibly can. Senior home care technology is helping to make their homes safer and more secure. Smart door locks, for example, allow you to lock or unlock your door remotely using your smartphone. Security cameras let you see who’s at your door so you can decide whether to answer the doorbell or not. Smart lighting allows you to turn your lights on and off automatically, or by voice if you have a Google Home or Amazon Echo. You could even have a Roomba vacuum the floors while you put your feet up and relax. That’s one senior living technology trend homeowners of all ages can embrace.
Being able to schedule a virtual visit with your doctor used to be a nice-to-have-service, but doctors weren’t pushing it and their practices weren’t equipped for it. One reason is they didn’t know how to charge for a video visit. That changed in March when the pandemic pushed Medicare to make telehealth more financially attractive for health care providers. Now instead of having to drive to your doctor’s office and sit in a waiting room with other people, you can video chat from the comfort and safety of your own home. Health care providers have been quick to adapt and now offer online telehealth visits that are HIPAA-compliant and easy to use. Telehealth appointments are more convenient and less risky for patients, and may allow you to be evaluated faster at the first sign of symptoms. Going forward, telehealth is one senior living trend poised to become more prevalent.
Older adults use a variety of technologies to stay connected with loved ones. Text messages, email, and social media are the most common ways seniors stay connected with friends and family. Apps like FaceTime, Zoom and Skype allow you to be present at milestone occasions, such as birthdays, graduations and weddings, when you can’t be there in person. Smart speakers are also becoming more popular with seniors to maintain social connections. Just tell your Amazon Echo or Google Home to call someone in your contact list and you’ll be connected. As voice-activated devices become more prevalent, the future of senior living looks more digital and accessible for older adults.
Senior living communities have offered virtual tours in the past, but this senior living technology has skyrocketed since the pandemic has restricted in-person visits. Typically, you’ll see one of two types of virtual tours on community websites. Prerecorded tours often feature interviews with staff members or residents, and/or video footage of the residences, amenities and grounds. Interactive or 360° virtual tours allow you to “walk through” a community similar to Google street view maps. Your sales counselor may also use the video camera on her phone to show you around while you talk in real time.
Take a virtual tour of The Heritage of Green Hills.
Our virtual tours allow you to have a good look around our community without leaving your chair. Videos offer guided tours of several apartment homes, a villa, and our fitness center and indoor pool. You can also get an inside view of a private suite in our personal care and memory care neighborhood.
Of course, we’re always happy to chat by phone or set up a Zoom meeting. If you’re new to Zoom, we’ll send you instructions to get you started. FaceTime for video calls is also an option if you have an iPhone, iPad or Apple computer. To learn more about living at The Heritage of Green Hills, visit our Independent Living page or contact us.