Collage Image

Why you shouldn’t overlook Internet and IT concerns when considering resident satisfaction

Posted by Dude Solutions Canada, Inc. | Monday, June 22, 2015

When it comes to ensuring resident satisfaction, administrators and staff members of senior living communities like to do everything they can to provide seniors with the necessities and amenities they need to be safe and comfortable. In recent years, however, one amenity has become increasingly popular in these facilities: Internet services.

Why you shouldn't overlook Internet and IT concerns when considering resident satisfaction Many people tend to think of seniors as not the most technologically savvy demographic, but in reality, the growing contingent of senior baby boomers are taking to the digital world much more readily than you may expect. Here are a few ways to help meet the online needs of your residents.

Seniors are more connected than you think

It's not just millennials and students who are wired into the Internet these days. In fact, the Assisted Living Federation of America noted that older adults take to the Web for a variety of reasons, whether it's shopping, staying in touch with relatives or even researching which senior living community they'd be interested in moving to. A 2014 report from Pew Research Center found that 59 percent of adults over 65 are connected to the Internet in some way, with 47 percent using broadband services. Some 77 percent of seniors have adopted cellphones. What's more, 46 percent of seniors use at least one social network.

How senior living centers can meet the need

This shift to the digital world means that assisted living facility administrators have a new need to meet when it comes to basic services offered at their center. Fortunately, many such facilities across the country seem to have had no trouble jumping on board. A report from Ziegler revealed that nearly 74 percent of facility administrators surveyed indicated investing in Internet connectivity technology for their residents. An additional 55 percent noted that they planned to invest in Internet technology for residents within the next year.

Providing personalized experiences

As Internet access among seniors grows, many facilities have found that communal computer lab-style setups are no longer sufficient to meet the demand. Instead, administrators are finding it useful to invest in facility-wide WiFi access that residents can use in common areas, in their apartments or anywhere else on the grounds. Not only does WiFi connectivity allow seniors the access that they desire, but it opens up new possibilities for social interaction. Now, facilities can create "Internet cafe" environments where residents can come not just to connect to the Web, but to socialize as well.

More practical applications

Internet provides seniors with more than just Facebook. There is a growing popularity among senior communities of telehealth technologies, including mobile and remote symptom management and even video conferencing with clinicians for medical consultations. Providing residents with access to reliable high-speed Internet can help facilitate this even further, granting your residents a new level of autonomy.

Low barrier to entry

The good news for facility administrators is the cost to bring residential centers up to speed with current online connectivity standards is fairly low. Many centers already have dedicated WiFi networks that are used by administrative and support staff, and all that would be required would be to update the speed with your local Internet service provider.