21Nov2016

3 Major Tech Mistakes Your Senior Living Community Should Avoid

Making sound technology decisions is a business imperative. The right investment has the potential to drive big profits if timed right. A short-sighted or delayed decision could result in missed opportunity or overspending. Of course, technology missteps are made in every industry and serve as welcome “don’t do it this way” reminders for everyone else. For senior living executives or directors looking for such examples in the senior living space, here are four major tech mistakes your senior living community should avoid:

1. Viewing senior technology needs as separate from the mainstream
Studies reveal that, for the most part, seniors have no intention of sitting still and watching the sun go down post-retirement. Some 68% of Americans in their early 70s go online, and 55% have broadband at home according to data computed by the Pew Research Center. In fact, seniors represent a rising subset of users visiting today’s top Internet sites.

  • 13.5 million of Twitter users are 65+
  • 39 million seniors age 65+ own an account on LinkedIn
  • 6.75 million of Pinterest “pinners” are also seniors according to this research

Senior Internet use is not limited, of course, to social networking sites. Just like any member of your senior living community’s caregiving, operational or executive staff, seniors value Internet access as an absolute necessity for many of their daily activities including communicating, networking, entertainment, banking, travel planning, researching and so much more. That said, when building or adding to your community’s technology framework, the list of requirements submitted to your technology vendor should not shortcut seniors in any way.

 2. Getting into technology contracts that limit your flexibility
Contracts that commonly leave many senior community administrators feeling locked-in are cable contracts that include service rollovers (sometimes referred to as “auto-renew” policies) that are easily overlooked. Administrators who don’t understand their cable contracts inside and out can compromise their own flexibility in two ways: by spending money unnecessarily or finding out too late that money budgeted to be invested elsewhere is held up by their cable contract.
What should you look for before signing a cable contract?

  • How long is the contract?
  • What services and/or equipment does it cover?
  • What costs are you assuming “on promotion” and which one’s are set?
  • Must you give notice before terminating your contract? How many days in advance? Are there penalties involved?

3. Forgetting to consider senior-specific technology solutions
Though seniors are quite advanced in terms of technology use, they are still prone to the hazards of age like failing eyesight and hearing, diminishing agility (both mental and physical) and an increased need, at times, for a little more “handholding.”
Not only are there hardware and software add-ons for senior friendly computers, televisions or phones that make a senior’s life a little easier (larger buttons, simplified navigation), there are vendors who offer support staff trained to meet the specialized needs of seniors. These professionals offer a different level of care than a big name, busy mainstream solutions provider might provide due to hard line cost and profitability restraints.

If you’d like to find out more about avoiding common technology mistakes and instead how to make technology truly work for your senior living community, contact us!

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