31Oct2016

4 Tips for Ensuring Senior Safety at Your Community

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When seniors and their families make the decision to move into a senior living community, they are putting the important responsibility of safety in your hands. Of course, safety should always be the number one priority at communities, as it’s a requirement to follow state and federal guidelines. But what about the topic of safety day-to-day? There are four key actions you can take now to ensure that safety is synonymous with your brand.

1. Revisit and Revise your Safety Plan

Your community should already have a safety preparedness plan in place. If it doesn’t, several examples are available online including this one from Argentum (formerly known as ALFA – The Assisted Living Federation of America). Plans like this include details on evacuating a community, sheltering in place during a crisis, and managing the stress that comes with emergencies. According to Argentum, “responding to a crisis can be one of the most challenging situations you will face as the leader or executive director of a senior living community.”

2. Make Risk-awareness Routine

Every senior living community strives to remain up to code with state-mandated guidelines and strict Federal OSHA standards. But when it comes to safety expectations from a prospective resident’s point-of-view, that is the bare minimum. Because safety risks aren’t always set in stone, it is necessary to keep the door open for new information and education about safety. Just when you think you have every prevention policy in place (fall prevention, fire and flood safety, personal security), something new can present itself.

Ensuring that you and your staff have a routine for learning about new senior living related safety risks is vital. Besides having a system for recording risks as they are reported, you can also subscribe to safety reports provided by insurance companies who deal with the financial consequences of risk every day.

3. Digitize and Mobilize Processes

Interconnectedness is key. Though privacy and independence is important to seniors, digital technology is creating necessary, transparent connections between staff, residents, and family members. This allows critical personal, medical, and procedural information to be accessed by the right people, at the right time. Many communities are integrating wireless nurse call systems and wireless pendants as a means for staff to discretely track a resident’s daily activity patterns and monitor medical needs in real-time.

In a 2014 InformationWeek article highlighting the successes of wireless technology in senior living communities, a senior director of infrastructure confirmed the improvements technology has had on risk reduction in his own community, “we wanted to make sure our people were mobile, and the apps we were looking at wouldn’t tie people to a computer in a hallway somewhere. People who are mobile provide a much better level of care.”

4. Make safety part of your business philosophy

What is your community’s mission statement? Safety becomes ingrained in your community when it becomes more than just a safety inspection on the calendar or a stressful event that you anticipate. Accidents, natural disasters, or human error are unavoidable.

But when you incorporate the concept of “safety” into every element of your business planning, resident management, and employee training, it becomes more than just part of a checklist. Safety becomes part of the experience you want to create to differentiate you from other communities and help you become the community of choice for your customers.

Is your community looking for ways to strengthen resident safety with emergency call systems? Learn more about what tech aware seniors mean for your community and find out about how our services help modernize and streamline your senior living technology.

26Oct2016

Technology and Caregiving

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Technology is always changing and evolving because we expect and crave technologies that make our lives easier – whether for work or play.  In April, AARP published a study that specifically examined technology use between senior citizens and their familial caregivers.  The study showed that while there is immense interest in utilizing technology as an integral part of the caregiving process, currently only 7% of caregivers are employing technology for those needs.  The report goes on to expand on how technology can and will impact the lives of seniors and their caregivers in the future.  Check it out here.   If you are interested in learning how ESCO Technologies can help make sure that your community is well equipped to handle the technological advances that are sure to come, contact us.  We’d love to spend a moment with you to discuss how we can help!

21Oct2016

The Best Tips For Seniors Looking For Post-Retirement Employment

By Jim Vogel, ElderAction.org

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Many seniors find that they want to remain employed after retirement, either because they choose to remain active and vital in the workforce or because they need the extra income. And while finding a job isn’t difficult for some, others find it hard to make the move to a new workplace after years–perhaps even decades–working for the same employer.

One thing to keep in mind is that now, you can focus on something you love to do rather than on something you have to do. If you’ve always been interested in something but never had the time to try it, such as photography, now is the time! Branch out and get creative, because if you don’t, you’ll never know what you might be good at.

Here are a few tips on how to find the best job for you post-retirement.

Get creative

Many people have a creative spirit, but if they never take the time to explore or advance it, that creativity will get lost in the shuffle of everyday life. Others express their creativity in ways that don’t include making art but are creative all the same, such as cooking or baking. If you have a passion for something and you’re good at it, consider turning it into a new profession. Photography, culinary skills, painting, woodworking, and sewing are just a few examples of ways you can put your creativity to work and make extra money while doing something you already love.

Retail

Retail can be hard work physically–lots of hours on your feet–but it’s a great option for seniors because it allows for a flexible schedule. If you have availability around the holidays, many stores keep an eye out for seasonal help, which means you might only work so many weeks out of the year.

Bookkeeping

If you had experience at your former job working with numbers, there’s a wonderful market out there for bookkeepers who know what they’re doing. If you’re a CPA, you might find placement with an agency, or there’s always the work-from-home option. Around tax season, advertise your services so people in your neighborhood know they can come to you when the big agencies are packed.

Tour guide

If you’re knowledgeable about your town and its history, consider finding work as a tour guide. Colleges are usually in need of such an individual, as are museums, hotels, tour boats, and historical sites. Do some research on your area to see if you might be interested in sharing your knowledge with the public.

Real estate

It will take some classes and a bit of learning, but if you’re interested in getting into the world of real estate, there’s money to be made. Helping families find the right home is a very rewarding job and allows you to be social while mostly setting your own schedule.

Make the most of your retirement by doing something you enjoy, and don’t forget to keep an open mind and have fun!

12Oct2016

Ubiquity Mobile Turns Executive Director’s Cellphone Into Her Office Phone – Case Study

Background:

ubiquity-mobile-screen-1When you’re the Executive Director of a thriving senior community, it’s important to stay in touch. Even when you’re not in your office, which can be often.

Of course, Kelli Tyler of Brownsboro Park has a cellphone. But many of her staff and other business associates, not to mention the residents of the community, use her office number to reach her. She faced the same dilemma as countless other busy professionals: either give everyone your cellphone number, or miss calls and check for messages frequently.

The Challenge:

Brownsboro Park has community-wide telephone service – along with Internet service and a nurse call system – through ESCO Technologies’ integrated CareConnect suite designed specifically for senior communities.

The CareConnect phone service offers all the resort-style features that residents (and staff) expect in an upscale community like Brownsboro Park, including call waiting and caller ID, and extension dialing.

So it’s easy for anyone in the community to dial Kelli’s extension whenever they want to reach her. Except when she’s not in the office.

That is, until she began using ESCO’s Ubiquity Mobile telephone service.

The Outcome:

“I love the ability to look through the list, and call residents back on their extensions, even if I’m at home.”

– Kelli Tyler, Executive Director, Brownsboro Park

Ubiquity Mobile is a cellphone service that allows both residents and staff to make free cellphone calls through the CareConnect WiFi network whenever they’re on premise. That means fewer minutes charged to their calling plans. And no more worries about poor cellphone coverage or “dead zones” around the campus.

But even more important for Kelli, she can use Ubiquity Mobile to receive calls to her office phone on her cellphone. “When I have the Ubiquity app activated, it turns my cellphone into my office phone,” Kelli explained. “I can catch calls I would have missed.”

Kellie likes the user-friendly interface, and the many features of the service – like its caller log and its contacts list that allows her to quickly call anyone on the CareConnect telephone system at Brownsboro Park.

Ubiquity Mobile not only works on cellphones; it also works on other devices like tablet computers. So Brownsboro Park has begun encouraging the drivers who take residents offsite to use the app on their tablets.

“Right now, they’re using cellphones and tablets. Our goal is to get to the point where everything can be done through the tablets,” said Kelli. “It’s just a question of educating them.”

“Once you’re accustomed to using it, it’s really easy.”

3Oct2016

ESCO’s Technology Concierge is the Tech Support Your Staff Needs

Technology can be challenging for today’s seniors.  That doesn’t mean your staff needs to take on extra work.  Working in senior living communities can be stressful enough without worrying about helping residents connect to their families on Facebook or teaching them how to Skype.  Turnover rates in senior living communities are already high without the added pressure of helping residents navigate technology.  Our Technology Concierge alleviates that problem, providing face to face customer care and making life easier for your staff.  Watch our video to see how a Technology Concierge can benefit your community.

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