As we covered in a prior content spark and in our social media webinars, it’s a common misperception or stereotype that seniors are technophobes or ‘out of the loop’ when it comes to technology use. While it’s definitely true that there are some seniors who aren’t using technology, there are also many who are — and for those who aren’t, we as senior care organizations can play a role in educating them about the benefits of technology and help them learn.
The theme of this year’s National Assisted Living Week (September 11-17) provides one such opportunity. It’s “Keep Connected” and is focused on recognizing the expanding and exciting ways that assisted living residents are using technology to enhance their lives — as well as the ways that staff are using technology to enhance care. And it’s not just senior living communities that are using technologies to support and engage older adults: home care agencies and other senior care organizations are doing so as well.
Content Tips for Any Senior Care Company
- Cite the statistics about the growing number of older adults who are using the Internet and social media — such as the figures that the Pew Internet and American Life project puts out. Then bring those stats to life with stories of real users you know who fit in this demographic. Discuss the ways they use it, and include any benefits they’ve experienced — such as a senior who is now more connected to their grandchildren’s daily lives via Facebook, or a senior living resident who used online reviews to find the community they’re in.
- Consider a technology product round up, such as “10 Technologies That Make A Senior’s Life Easier” with a short description of each one and how it helps. Or, “Our Favorite Apps for Seniors’ Smartphones”, or “5 Websites Worth A Senior’s Time”, or something similar that helps raise awareness about technologies that can improve or enhance the well being of older adults.
- Alternatively, you could narrow your focus to one technology, such as video chats, or one social media platform and how it helps older adults — whether by connecting them to friends and loved ones, or by stimulating their minds and memory, or by helping them find deals, etc.
- Content Tips for Senior Living Communities
- Blog about the ways that technology is being used in your community to enhance the lives of residents or support your staff in delivering excellence in care. And if you’re using technology to help connect residents to their family members, be sure to include those examples as well.
- Consider hosting a screening of the Cyber-Seniors documentary during National Assisted Living Week. After the show, open up a discussion with your residents to hear their thoughts about the film, or consider joining the campaign to connect local youth with elders in your community for technology learning.
- Host an activity where you educate cognitively healthy residents about online reviews and how to post their own — whether about your community’s services on a site like Caring.com, or of their favorite beauty salon on Yelp, or a recently read book on Amazon.com.
- Content Tips for Home Care Agencies
- Is your home care agency using technology in any innovative ways to support your clients and their family members? Create a blog post to discuss those attributes and benefits of hiring your agency.
- At the Home Care Association of America annual conference in Anaheim in September, there is a session with Laurie Orlov, founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch, featuring the latest and greatest technologies for use in the home by older adults, caregiving professionals and families to enable safety, engagement, and communication. If you’re attending the conference, go to that session, and include a write up about the information presented on your agency’s blog.
Caring Resources to Support this Spark
- Seniors Learning Technology: Why Some Seniors Have Trouble With Technology & How to Help
- Assisted Living Residents and The Internet: How Assisted Living Helped One Dad Discover the Internet
- The Future Caregiver: How Technology Will Help Save the Future of Caregiving
Additional Resources to Support this Spark
- National Center for Assisted Living — National Assisted Living Week materials
- The New York Times – Retirement: Staying in Touch with Technology
Content Sparks are part of Caring.com’s Content Made Simple program. See all of the September 2016 Content Sparks.
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