The Case for Connection

I recently read an article about a 90-year-old woman in hospice care in Iowa who was able to see and talk with her sister in North Dakota one last time via Skype. 

Neither of those women just took it upon themselves to hook up the necessary technology to make that interaction happen. Two other people were instrumental in this wonderful story; the executive director and the director of life enrichment for the retirement community in which the dying woman resided were determined to find a way for their resident to see her sister again. 

But this story is not about technology; it’s about what technology can do, the life-changing and affirming outcomes it can produce. 

Regardless of age, our need for relationships, recreation and personal growth is part of who we are. Status Solutions does not believe in the status quo, or that we, as a society, should rest or boast with only 41 percent of seniors having access to electrons or more importantly the connections those electrons make possible. 

Many senior living organizations are choosing only to prepare for technology options and infrastructure to meet the needs of the more tech-savvy Baby Boomer generation. But where’s the conscience in that? In only looking ahead, today’s seniors are being largely forgotten when it comes to technology enablement and therefore denied opportunities for meaningful connections.

This lack of e-enablement in long-term care settings led Status Solutions to develop CATIE for Communication and Access To Information Everywhere. Running on the powerful yet easy-to-use Apple iPad, CATIE is an in-room multimedia and self-service portal with intercom, message center, electronic bulletin board/digital signage and concierge capabilities. 

By being connected through CATIE, residents can stay active, engaged and involved in the community they call home, as well as the community at large. Relevant content appears at their fingertips along with unlimited self-service options so they can access the amenities/services they want when they want them – no intimidating keyboards and no training required. 

So why wait when connectivity has such proven benefits for seniors, which also extend to their families, friends and caregivers? 

•  15–20% of adults in the United States older than 65 have experienced some form of depression.

•  Feelings of loneliness increase the odds of an older adult developing dementia by 64%.

•  Seniors with an active social life may have a slower rate of memory decline.

•  Close relationships between grandparents and grandchildren have proved to decrease feelings of depression for both generations.

•  Internet use leads to a 33% reduction in the probability of depression.

If a resident lives to age 80, he or she is likely to live at least another eight years. Ergo, a community with an average census of 80 years needs to provide quality services to these folks for the next decade. 

Does waiting still sound like the right thing to do? 

If you answered “no,” then check out this recent webinar recording to learn how to transform the resident experience with CATIE and associated services like LifeBio.

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