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Senior Living Industry: Moving Forward After COVID-19

The COVID-19 global pandemic upended many industries and communities, in many different ways. This holds especially true for the senior living community, one of the most vulnerable to the virus. As the pandemic swept across the U.S., community operations as normal ceased to exist. Senior living communities had to adapt quickly, and many have turned to technology for help.

Senior Living Technology Spend Significantly Increased During COVID-19

Senior living providers are spending much more on technology during COVID-19. A study conducted by Senior Housing News in partnership with global health technology firm Philips, surveyed 250+ members of the Senior Housing News audience. According to the survey, 80% of respondents reported an increase in technology spending this year to help address the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, 87% of respondents expect an increase in technology budgets for 2021.

Challenges Facing Senior Living Facilities Due to the Pandemic

Many senior living facilities have implemented lock downs or have been limiting visitation, in an effort to prevent COVID-19 infections. And this has directly translated into less visits from loved ones, limitations to time spent off property, and more reliance on staff. Thus, many senior living facilities have turned to technology for help. Some key areas where technology use increased the most amid the COVID-19 crisis include:

More Widespread Use of Telemedicine for Seniors

Via virtual appointments, seniors can still get the medical care they need. Providers can care for patients quickly and safely. And patient care isn’t compromised either. Providers can utilize remote monitoring and wearables to measure vitals and monitor patients. Plus, patients benefit from telemedicine too. They can get the care they need without leaving the community. They save time, resources and limit their risk of exposure.

Using Voice Activated Technology to Make Staff More Effective and Efficient

Stretched thin, staff members have more responsibilities and are under more pressure to stretch resources further due to the pandemic. Voice activated technology can help seniors with some basic tasks, such as reminding them when it is time for meals or when to take medication. It also allows seniors to easily call for assistance, letting staff members know where they are needed.

Using Technology to Communicate

Since many facilities are on lock down or limiting visitors, seniors are relying on technology more to communicate with friends and loved ones. And senior living communities are seeing a significant increase in use of cell phones, internet and wi-fi.

Senior Living Communities Are Experiencing Increased Network Demands During COVID-19

But the technology senior living communities are now relying on more, is only as good as the network behind it. Ramped up demands and increases in technology use can leave communities experiencing network and connectivity problems, and seniors feeling frustrated and alone. This can take a toll on their mental health, adding to the dangers they face during the pandemic.

For many senior living industry providers, they are unfortunately learning that their outdated infrastructures aren’t equipped to handle increased demands. And according to Majd Alwan, senior vice president of technology and business strategy and executive director of the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST), “many senior living providers are now seeing the value of having robust internet access, which is a ‘must-have’ in any successful tech strategy. A lot of the providers that were skeptical about the value of internet connectivity now see why it needs to be available.”

Technology Spending Won’t End with the Pandemic, It’s Only Ramping Up

Technology demands in the senior living industry won’t decrease with the passing of the pandemic. If anything, demands will continue to grow. Seniors will expect the same comforts and technology capabilities they enjoyed in their own home. And families will likely place more value on technology and connectivity capabilities in senior living communities going forward.

Technology Spending Should Start with a Better Infrastructure

For industry providers, improving network infrastructure to meet growing technology demands will be key to moving forward after COVID-19.

And because many outdated networks are often provided by multiple parties, service arrangements and cost structures can vary from service to service, simply upgrading the current network isn’t going to be the easy solution providers are hoping for. Multiple providers mean that many parties need to be involved to make network upgrades. This isn’t an easy task to begin with, but doing it during a pandemic, makes it much more difficult.

Network Infrastructure Solutions for Senior Living Communities

So instead of upgrading outdated network infrastructures, Qypsys offers a better, less complicated  solution. Qypsys Private Broadband Network (aka the 4th Utility) works by converging multiple networks into one owner-provided fiber-based network. It helps lower the risks, costs, and complexities of deploying a better network infrastructure. It delivers a highly-reliable, secure network capable of connecting telehealth providers, seniors, and their loved ones. All the while, it’s still capable of running the technology applications staff members have come to rely on.

Qypsys Connectivity Solutions for Senior Living Facilities

Qypsys designs better technology solutions for senior living communities. Talk to the Qypsys team today to learn why your technology budget should make allocating spend toward a private broadband network a priority for your senior living community.

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