Seniors bust the tech gap myth

“It’s an urban myth that our seniors are afraid of technology.” So declared Wayne Olson, senior vice president of Healthcare Operations and Development, Volunteers of America, National Services, Eden Prarie, Minnesota. “The problem is we haven’t taken the time to educate them.”


Olson spoke this morning during an educational session on technology-based rehab at the AAHSA 2010 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles. He pointed out the greater acceptance at all levels he and his colleagues have observed among the seniors who have been familiarized with computers and other technologies that help improve their lives. Much of the familiarization has come through fun and/or informational activities that tap into their interests or former work and family lives.


While technology implementation is being driven by clinical operations, medical records, and the business office, resident benefits are often left out of the equation, Olson maintained. “Seniors in the future will move from an acceptance mode (regarding technology adaptation) to an expectation mode.”


Olson also made a few other interesting observations as to where we’re heading with technology in the long-term care environment:


  • More flexibility in implementing systems in rooms and other areas (moving the tech-based rehab function out of basement space next to the boiler room, for example)
  • Implementation of technologies onto one platform
  • Preparing for and accommodating new types of worker skill sets
  • Market differentiation as a sales tool

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