How Robotics Can Shape the Senior Care Industry
Technology has had a tremendous effect on the senior care industry, but robots, in particular, are making their mark. From reducing the workload for staff to interacting with residents, robots are influencing and supporting the senior care industry in multiple ways.
Embracing Robotics and Technology
Rachel Blumberg, executive director of Toby & Leon Cooperman Sinai Residences Boca Raton, shares the multiple ways that Sinai Residences has implemented robotics in its daily operations.
“Wheelchair washers are just one example of the kind of tools that are streamlining operations and helping staff focus on their most important priority,” says Blumberg. She notes that the machine takes only five minutes to clean the chairs, while leaving staff with more time to spend with residents.
“Servi the Robot was deployed in Sinai dining rooms last year for a similar reason,” explains Blumberg. Servi is produced by Bear Technologies. The robots deliver food and drinks to the residents, and then carry dishes back and forth through the dining rooms. Blumberg says that the robots avoid spills and collisions, and they leave dining staff with more time to spend with the residents. “Plus, our residents think it is pretty cool to have a robot delivering food,” she says.
Sinai Residences is using innovative technology in other ways, too. “We also introduced a new fitness concept called ‘exergaming’ last year, which projects games onto a large screen that hangs from a wall in our fitness center,” says Blumberg. The platform features games that require residents to quickly move in different directions, and to catch and throw. There are also trivia games. “Our residents are having a blast and absolutely loving this new innovative way of exercising,” she explains. “We are the first senior living community to launch MultiBall in the world.”
Other recent enhancements include the installation of 20 electric car chargers. Sinai invested in two new Tesla’s to be used as fleet vehicles, and also installed dashcams in the vehicles of employees who are driving residents.
Choosing the Right Technology
While robots and other technology can enhance a senior living community, it’s also important to choose products that are the right fit for the community’s needs. Blumberg explains that she searches the internet, particularly outside the United States, to find new technology that could support the senior living community. She considers technology regardless of whether it has been introduced to a senior living community yet. “It’s all about solving problems and creating solutions,” she says.
When choosing technology, Blumberg considers not only the benefits it would offer to residents and staff, but also any potential negatives that could occur. She notes that it’s important to look at the full picture before making additions or changes to the community.
“For example, we purchased a wheelchair washing machine that has two quick wash settings (3 minutes or 7 minutes) to clean, sanitize and disinfect wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility devices,” says Blumberg. “This innovative machine takes the physical burden off employees and provides a faster and more efficient cleaning system than washing by hand. The ease of this system provides a quick and sanitary solution to the fast-paced turnover rate of short-term rehab patients admissions and discharges. Especially, during the time of COVID, providing a clean environment has been beneficial to all residents residing whether short term or long term.”
Blumberg continues to explore new technology options. “All it takes is curiosity, a commitment to investing in newer and better ways to enrich the lives of seniors, and the support of a Board that has been open-minded and supportive with our ideas and initiatives,” she says.
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