Posted: October 25, 2021
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, it quickly shined a light on the pervasive loneliness and social isolation experienced by many older adults. During the pandemic, when senior living communities were under mandatory lockdowns and visits by friends and family were restricted, the need for engagement technology became clear. Not only did it provide elders with entertaining games, videos, and other stimulating content, but engagement technology also cleared the way for digital connection with family and friends.
It has become clear that there are costs associated with not addressing the isolation and loneliness many of our elders experience. Isolation often leads to depression. Older adults who have depression have medical expenses that are 50 percent higher than those older adults without depression. Medicare reports spending an additional $134 each month on older adults who are socially isolated.
The good news is that senior living engagement technology continues to improve both wellness and quality of life, helping to alleviate loneliness and social isolation. This is why more older adult living communities, such as Holly Creek, are recognizing its value.
Senior living engagement technology gives residents access to content-driven entertainment and connectivity tools digitally. The content is designed to enhance lives with group and individual activities. This technology usually comes in the form of a large touch screen for group engagement as well as more compact tablets for smaller groups or individuals. The user interface is specifically designed for older adults with a wide variety of cognitive and physical abilities.
The system generally includes thousands of preloaded apps that are designed to meet residents’ spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and intellectual needs. At its best, this technology supports purposeful engagement, which happens when people are involved in actions and events that match their preferences and provide them with meaning and purpose. When used throughout the assisted living community, engagement technology brings people together and drives staff efficiencies.
Many solutions are marketed as senior living engagement technology, but their primary function is not always to enrich the lives of residents. A true senior living engagement technology solution is aimed at enhancing residents’ lives through meaningful activities and social connections. Improving meaningful engagement helps to decrease social isolation and feelings of loneliness and depression.
Everyone deserves to live a life with joy, purpose, and meaningful connections—particularly as they age. iN2L is a new technology that brings people together, enabling older adults to share conversations, interactions, learning, and fun with other community residents, caregivers, and family members. It provides a sense of camaraderie because of shared experiences. It also gives community members a sense of purpose.
iN2L is simple to use. A touch screen system or tablet offers easy access to myriad applications that simplify social interaction, cognitive and physical exercise, education, memory support, and other areas of interest. Content is updated regularly. iN2L also provides suggestions for activities that can be programmed, making it easy for seniors to work and socialize together with engaging ideas and activities. Communities can spend less time planning and more time interacting with residents.
iN2L is a great tool for supporting older adults who are living with dementia with purpose-driven content created by dementia care experts. In addition, there is content for encouraging resident participation in prescribed activities for speech, physical, and occupational therapy. Through iN2L, families can participate actively in their elder’s daily life in the community. Family members can easily add personal photos, videos, and other memories to favorite iN2L activities and applications on their loved one’s personalized page. Even the youngest family members can engage with residents during in-person visits or remotely via video chat. Residents and families are not the only ones to benefit from engagement technology. It also provides staff with tools to do their jobs more effectively, offering them more enjoyment and fulfillment in their work.
It is becoming clear that engagement technology has gone from a nice-to-have feature in older adult living communities to an essential one. All residents deserve to have their lives enriched by the social connections, learning, and entertainment it offers.