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CMS: Technology an important offering in senior living

Posted by Kate Donnelly | Friday, September 25, 2015

Last week we talked about the importance of seniors having access to any information that concerns them. This week we’ll take a look at how technology can be critical in helping seniors to connect, and the proposed CMS rules aim to keep seniors connected (both with their families and the facilities in which they live) more than ever before. Previously, older Americans in LTC facilities were required to have fair access to telephones, paper, stamps, and envelopes so that they can keep connected to their communities and families.

The new proposal adds access to the internet as a requirement, one that will be increasingly important in years to come. The demographics of our senior living communities are changing dramatically as baby boomers approach their retirement years and life spans continue to increase – in 2020, for the first time there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 5. And I bet that if you look on your phones and in your email inboxes right now, you’ve got voicemails, text messages, emails, Facebook notes, and more from your aging relatives. The internet has become a lifeline not just for communication and connection but for research, money management, shopping, entertainment (my older relatives aren’t great on the computer but they sure know how to stream Netflix), and much more. 

Given this, I think it’s extremely likely that seniors aging into our LTC communities will continue to expect this level of connectivity and convenience – indeed, that they’ll demand more and more of it in coming years. They will want to be able to make activity and dietary choices from a tablet, to submit a maintenance request from a smartphone, or print medication lists from a laptop.  While these technologies are far from being required today, they will prove to be a major differentiator in the future when seniors and their families are deciding where they would like to live or recover from an illness.

Erica Maity Erica Maity is a healthcare solutions expert who has been with Dude Solutions for three years. She has a passion for making sure that operations teams get the tools, insight, and respect they need to get the job done.