Leveraging technology to maximize engagement during COVID-19 and beyond

December 3, 2020
Categories: Life plan community, Senior living
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In our recent podcast with Lisa Taylor from iN2L, we discussed the shift that’s taken place since COVID-19 with leaders and their willingness to adopt the technology. In fact, Taylor explains that “60% more leaders believe that engagement technology is extremely important as compared to 2019.” Despite once being viewed as a market that’s slow to adopt technology, the industry is placing a heavier reliance on innovative tools that can keep residents connected and help operators work smarter, not harder. With COVID-19 forcing seniors to socially distance, resident engagement has been a real concern. Read on as we uncover ways care facilities can leverage technology to maximize engagement, not only with their residents but with their staff too.

Who’s responsible for resident engagement?

When it comes to resident engagement, everyone in the community really needs to feel responsible. While traditionally, the idea of engagement has largely been the responsibility of the Activity Director or the life enrichment teams, Taylor suggests, it’s time to start looking at things outside of the box. Given the current state of the pandemic, facilities need to start working together and sharing what they’re doing to solve these common challenges. But, when it comes to resident engagement, Taylor says the goal is simple: “get seniors connected with loved ones.”

Turning to tablets

Whether you have 50 residents or 100 residents, engagement matters. Especially now when seniors are feeling more isolated than ever before. Finding ways to bridge communication gaps and keep them in touch with friends and family can really do wonders for their mental health. By leveraging technology, your residents can easily and seamlessly stay connected to their community. Some facilities have even adopted multifunctional tablets that allow many residents to use the same tablet, following proper cleaning procedures. This allows residents to rotate the tablets through the community. Taylor describes an example of how one community was able to facilitate “over 15,000 video chats in a matter of a week, where every resident can have up to 8 family members join a call.”

Purpose-built for your needs

Although the adoption of tablets has been very successful among seniors during COVID-19, it’s important to note that the software technology installed on those tablets should be purpose-built. Taylor suggests that the content should be curated and specifically designed for seniors themselves, including those with cognitive decline, to help ensure they stay interested and engaged. She states, “The last thing that you want to have happen is when the senior interacts with the tablet for the first time, it’s difficult or it’s hard, or they become confused. Then, they will never pick it up again.” Taylor says it’s “really important that the content or the programming that they’re interacting with initially is very welcoming, warming. It sparks memories. It sparks engagement.” One of the biggest challenges with using an agonistic device is that the content isn’t curated for senior users which can leave them feeling complex, confused, or frustrated.

Technology and turnover

Leveraging technology doesn’t just benefit your residents – it can help your staff, too. Taylor describes how she’s seen firsthand how technology can help organizations struggling with staff turnover. She says that technology enables staff to feel empowered and effective in their day-to-day jobs. And, as Taylor states the more “empowered we feel to do our jobs and the more success we can see, the happier we’re going to be.” Not only can this kind of technology help your team feel empowered, but it can also help aid your marketing tactics for prospective residents.

Engage with prospective residents

By using purpose-built tablets, like those offered by iN2L, senior living facilities or life plan communities can give prospective residents a taste of all the activities their community has to offer. Taylor mentions that they’ve “actually deployed tablets in those use cases that allow potential residents to actually have a tablet and be connected to activities within the community.” This is a great way to bridge the separation gap and help educate seniors to feel part of a community.

To conclude

With an uncertain end date for the pandemic, it’s important to find new ways to keep residents and staff engaged. By utilizing purpose-built technology, you can connect residents with loved ones, empower staff, and best of all, create a true sense of community. Explore ways you can maximize engagement during COVID19 and beyond with our resources below.


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The content in this presentation is for informational purposes only and is provided “as-is.” Information and views expressed herein may change without notice. Given the fluidity of the current regulatory environment due to the pandemic, we encourage you to seek, as appropriate, regulatory, and legal advice.

Kelly Keefe, RN
Kelly Keefe, RN

Kelly Keefe, RN has been in healthcare for nearly 20 years with leadership roles in nursing management, hospital administration, and information technology. In 2011, Kelly began her career in the EHR vendor market as a Product Manager, fueled by a desire to ensure that health care workers would have access to solutions that would meet the demands of a changing healthcare climate. Working as Product Manager, Kelly was responsible for ensuring that her products met all regulatory requirements, while maintaining focus on ease-of-use and workflow considerations for the end user. Kelly made the decision to come to MatrixCare as a Senior Living Solutions Product Manager based on the forward-thinking strategy of the organization. “I love that at MatrixCare we have a climate of progressiveness that allows us to be ahead of the game instead of chasing regulations. We are the ones creating the standards in the LTPAC market and I am proud to be a part of these important milestones in healthcare.”

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