Jason Lloyd, residential director, Glide looks at how smart technology can transform a retirement home.
To say that technology has revolutionised the way we live would be an understatement. With devices such as voice assistants and smart thermostats, we are able to put our homes on autopilot. In particular, the retirement living sector has been able to completely transform its offering for residents thanks to this smart technology.
However, the technology in place must have reliable and seamless connectivity in order to be truly effective. The need for robust internal connectivity is now considered a foundational element of good service provision for integrated retirement communities. If the pandemic has taught us anything it is that alongside water, heat and electricity, the internet is now also an essential element of modern life. So what problems is technology solving in this sector and how can retirement living operators implement them?
A smart retirement
Whether it be retirement housing, a retirement community, or a care home, all housing types have an overarching need for secure and reliable connectivity. Whatever the smart device - be it a careline alarm, smartTV or even sensors - specific requirements will vary between different types, but their connectivity needs all remain the same.
High-quality connectivity does more than allow seamless Netflix streaming, and its advantages become ever more obvious within retirement homes. Connectivity supports security through CCTV, promotes community through communal connectivity, and even enables more streamlined and effective personal care and support health services with NHS-supported tablets.
Connectivity extends throughout the home, and while it benefits residents themselves, it also provides support in areas such as domestic services and staff support with CRM and internal systems. Over the past 18 months, where many at-risk individuals have been unable to see friends and family, high-quality connectivity has provided a platform on which residents have been able to reconnect with friends and family, reducing loneliness at a critical time for many.
If a retirement home wants to stand out from its competitors, it must cater to a tech-savvy retiree generation that wants to continue living by its own decisions. It has to provide its residents with a convenient and streamlined lifestyle that not only enables them to keep control of their life but also allows staff to be even more effective in their caregiving through the latest technology.
By deploying fibre infrastructure that delivers ultrafast broadband capabilities, retirement homes can significantly increase the experience of both residents and staff. Suddenly, everything can be managed through the cloud. Residents have better and easier access to critical non-essentials that make a significant difference to their quality of life - from thermostat control to unlocking doors with a phone.
For staff, care becomes significantly more efficient. Resident information can be accessed immediately through handheld devices or tablets. Tracking medicine dosages, specific requirements or exercise needs all becomes much more streamlined. This not only creates an easier working environment, but it allows staff to provide a better general service to residents who need it.
Where the pandemic led to multiple lockdowns, people were forced to stay at home. This proved extremely difficult for families to stay connected, especially for relatives that were restricted by insufficient internet connectivity. Now, the demand for quality connectivity remains for retirement living and is considered a foundational element of good service provision when choosing a retirement home.
Retirement accommodation providers can take actionable steps to tackle internet connectivity within retirement living. One such solution is to offer gigabit infrastructure. This way internet speeds can be scaled as needed seamlessly, and the opportunity for first-grade connectivity is at an all-time high. Moreover, a full-fibre delivery that uses the latest network technology will deliver a reliable and future-proofed service. Gigabit broadband means that retirement accommodation operators can offer greater speed and connectivity to support smart devices as well.
As older generations continue to become more reliant on technology, the latest upgrades quickly go from a nice-to-have to a must-have. In order for retirement facilities to keep up with this demand, high-quality connectivity is an absolute necessity that not only makes the institution more appealing to its residents but drastically improves the experience of everyone in the home.