A mere five years ago, the idea that senior living communities would need to have a well thought-out wireless plan to support new technologies was hard to wrap one’s head around. Sure, the high-tech senior was an interesting topic, but the need to seriously invest in supporting tech for seniors was certainly not a priority or necessity.
Times have changed. Today’s Wall Street Journal article, written by Dr. Joseph Coughlin of MIT’s Age Lab, “How Technology Will Transform Retirement”,deemed that support for the Internet of Things for senior living services will, “become so convenient, and so vital to our care and well-being, that they will be a significant and necessary cost”. The next generation of seniors to enter into retirement and CCRCs will be tech savvy and tech dependent with a focus on mobile connectivity and IoT.
The number of Americans living in senior care facilities is expected to double by 2030. With the tech dependent Boomer generation comes 70% of U.S. financial assets. Put them together and you have a generation that uses technology and has the money to pay for upscale retirement facilities.
Staying connected to friends and family is arguably the most important benefit that seniors receive from technology. Visual calling applications like FaceTime and Skype, social media and easy picture sharing applications like DropBox all help seniors to keep in-touch, not just verbally, but visually. WSJ mentionsConnected Living, Inc., an online community that keeps senior living residents and their families connected. More futuristic technologies, like eyeglasses that show reminders of who someone is and your last conversation with them, may not be so far off when you think of Google Glass.
Seniors are living longer, so living “better” and taking control over one’s own health and wellness as well as increasing communication between seniors and their health care providers is another big benefit. Vitals monitoring, diet & exercise monitoring, medication dispensing, virtual consultations with doctors and appointment reminders are just a few of the services that are available to seniors.
Finally, “connected homes and communities” with futuristic IoT solutions are not just for millennials, they can improve quality of life and maintain independence for seniors.
In a multi-residential CCRC setting, intelligently architected wireless networks will be necessary to support the proliferation of wireless devices that will be descending on senior communities with the Boomer generation. Investment in a wireless plan will increase the value and appeal of any senior living community as well as save senior living providers money in the long term.