‘Tis the (tech) season

What kind of technology do senior residents crave?  We talked with residents at two previous OPTIMA Award-winning providers to see what tech tools top their lists. We hope that Santa’s elves (as well as resident activity directors, memory care directors, IT directors and administrators) are listening.

First, we enlisted the help of Linda Hart, Director of Public Relations at Eliza Jennings, whose mission was to ask residents at The Renaissance Retirement Campus in Olmsted Twp., Ohio, what technology they wish they had.

Lots of responses were about staying connected and interacting with other people. Rose Lombardo, 74, wants to be able to Skype with her 2-year-old grandson in Arizona, and she wishes she had a smart phone so she could search the Internet. Don Lee, 75, is a fan of the card game Hearts and would like an app that would allow him to play with other people online.

Emily Hunter, 88, is already rather tech-savvy. She has a Facebook account, an email account and an iPad. She also makes flyers for the community bulletin board and prints recipes to share with the Resident Council Dining Committee.  Like many busy people, she would like a program that would provide automated calendar and event reminders to help her stay organized.

Entertainment tops the wish list of Vic Ambrosino, 62. He would like a laptop so that he could watch concerts, either on video or via live-streaming. And he’s not talking about the orchestra—some of his favorite bands are The Doors, Aerosmith and AC/DC. Maybe he’ll need some headphones, too.

Meanwhile, we asked Elvin Marmol, a 15-year resident of Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Briarwood, N.Y., to serve as our “roving reporter” and find out what his fellow residents crave in terms of tech tools.

He wrote the following:

“While making rounds it was unanimous that technology gadgets are the way to go. They drive many aspects of our lives today, so why not for nursing home patients as well? There is a common theme among my fellow residents: the desire to be connected. Even while in a sub-acute long-term care facility, we still want to connect because it gives a feeling of very little separating us all.

It is frequently talked about and now studied how all our gadgets are separating humanity from real conversations. Strangely, I am convinced in a nursing home the opposite is true. As many of you know a resident may get visitors several times a week if lucky. For a large number of them the visits are more like once a month or even a handful of times a year. Technology opens the doors to the outside world. Being able to contact an old friend and grandchildren is possible today more frequently than for past nursing home residents.

Get ready, Santa, for the Silvercrest residents’ wish list:

     For Philip Fiorito, 64, a laptop with a webcam and disk player. His daughter lives in another state and cannot visit often, the webcam lets him talk and see both the daughter and new grandson. He can watch movies and also keep track of his favorite sports team.

     Tyheth Humbert, 42, a pastor and elder at his church, wants the newest Photoshop to help manage his church's website. 

     Makeitha Torres, 23, wants the most advanced version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. She is a quadriplegic and the software will allow her to give verbal commands to her computer and have access to the worldwide web, old school friends and family. 

     Michael Winkler, 67, wants a Kindle Fire to keep his large collection of books and family pictures in one place.

     Eider Valencia, 31, is wishing for a PS4 or a Play Station 4 with the capacity to communicate online with other players around the globe.

     And, I will break some unwritten rule in reporting to include myself because Silvercrest is my home. I'm paralyzed in body and the few times I go out by myself there is no way for me communicate just in case. So, a smart phone with voice recognition would provide great piece of mind.

     These gadgets will enrich a resident’s life and improve their quality of life. They allow us to remain a part of society by keeping in contact with family and the world.   —Elvin Marmol.”

This holiday story goes way beyond the holidays, of course. As your community’s administrators and boards make their own wish lists for technology improvements and capabilities for 2016 and beyond, we hope you’ll remember to ask the residents what would impact their lives and change the way they interact with the world.



Topics: Activities , Executive Leadership , Technology & IT