9Jan2017

Luxury Senior Living

The increasingly popular trend of “luxury senior living” is the direct result of the large number of baby boomers driving the industry.  This group of retiring adults is united in the desire to live in an environment reflective of the quality of life they have become accustomed to.  Those with the means are more than willing to splurge.

“If [seniors] have a million or a couple million dollars in liquid assets, they have enough assets to pay for a very luxurious last few years of their life, and they want to enjoy the last few years.” –Senior Housing News, August 23, 2016  (for the full article, click here)

Luxury senior living isn’t just for convenience and splendor, either.  It can actually make the most financial sense for seniors with the ability to afford it.  This article on bankrate.com explains how this option can benefit seniors that choose to go the luxury living route, explaining that  “Ninety percent of [the senior’s] entry fee is returned to the resident when he moves out or is returned to his estate when he dies. It’s a smart financial decision that preserves your asset base for your children, wrapped in a decision to live in a luxurious, carefree environment.”

So, what kinds of things are seniors looking for when it comes to luxury senior living?  They want quality service and expect concierge level treatment.  They want fine dining and resort style service.  And they want their hobbies and interests represented in their surrounding community.

Senior living communities have been evolving to keep up with demands of baby boomers that are looking for senior specific housing.  This has led to a rise in niche senior living options looking to cater to specific crowds and overcome negative stereotypes of sterile nursing homes and hospital-like living conditions.  Baby boomers have changed the face of senior housing and what retirement looks like.   Click here if you’d like to learn more about ESCO’s CareConnect program and how it can help boost the “luxury” level of your retirement community.

 

4Jan2017

Senior Living Trends to Look for in 2017

Predictions for senior living in 2017 continue to look towards technology advancement and decreasing senior isolation from the community at large.  How individual senior living communities take advantage of these trends will inevitably vary, but we’ve put together a list of the most common denominators to be on the lookout for this year.

  • Wireless internet is becoming a must have item in senior living.  According to research published by Flik Lifestyles, “seniors are increasingly savvy technology users – readily accessing laptops, smart phones, mobile devices and tablets, social media and cloud-based apps. They expect wireless connectivity wherever they roam, including most especially their homes.”  Read more from the report here.   The days where senior living communities could skimp and rely on wi-fi solely in common areas are coming to an end.
  • Software spending will replace hardware spending.  According to Forbes’ The 7 Unmissable Tech Predictions That Will Define 2017,  “infrastructure spending is increasingly being put into software, as more and more functionality becomes available “as-a-service” through cloud providers.”  What does this mean for senior living?  Seniors today are looking for top notch service with concierge style amenities.  As noted in the Flik Lifestyles report, “current and prospective residents expect a level of attentiveness from staff members who bring a service-oriented attitude to every interaction” and ” often seek concierge-style services including room service, car service, personal shoppers and one-on-one educational and cultural experiences.”  A technology framework that can facilitate these services will likely be software based.

  • Senior living communities are teaming up with local universities and child care centers to foster lifelong learning.  Intergenerational living facilitates relationship building and combats senior isolation, and “the fastest-growing options for retirement are communities with ties to colleges and universities, giving residents access to campus activities, from classes to concerts” according to bankrate.com.  You can read more about intergenerational living here.  There are benefits for everyone involved, and communities that embrace this model are thriving.
  • Another main focus for senior living in 2017 is the concept of total wellness. Senior living communities are continuing to move beyond the physical well being of their residents and focusing on mental health, spiritual health, and social experiences.  Last January, The Senior List posted their trends to watch for in 2016 (you can read the list here).  They noted that person centered care and niche senior living communities would rise in popularity, and that trend is not showing signs of slowing down in 2017.

If you’d like some information on how ESCO Technologies can help your senior living community meet 2017 head on, contact us for a quick chat.

 

 

19Dec2016

Keep Seniors Connected for the Holidays

The holiday season can bring happiness and cheer, but it can also bring stress, sadness and loneliness.  For seniors, the latter can be especially true if they are separated geographically from friends and family.  Fortunately, there are many ways to combat senior isolation or melancholy.  We’ve compiled some of the best tactics we could find with hopes of brightening the holidays for seniors that may be feeling alone this year.

  • Be a good listener. This is one of the easiest things to do for any seniors in your life.  Seniors that are feeling alone during the holidays appreciate having their memories, thoughts, and feelings validated by a friendly listening ear.

 

  • Create a private family blog. This one may be more time consuming, but it is a great way to chronicle what is going on with various family members – with the added bonus of preserving new memories and keeping senior loved ones involved and in the loop.

  • Consider making new traditions. If a senior loved one is far from family during the holidays, consider breaking from what might be considered traditional celebrations in your family.  Host a virtual holiday party online/over the phone with out of town relatives.  Check out this blog post from theworkathomewoman.com for some great ideas.  Though it is geared toward a virtual office party, there is no reason the ideas can’t be tweaked to work for seniors and their families.

 

  • Send snail mail. Hand written notes and care packages can go a long way towards making seniors feel special during the busy holiday season.  It’s a quick an easy way to make sure they know you’re thinking of them.

 

  • Suggest they connect with others in similar circumstances. Chances are, if there’s a senior in your life that is feeling lonely, there will be others in the same community facing the same situation.  Coordinate a dinner or luncheon for those with family and friends that aren’t local. This can help alleviate feelings of remoteness or withdrawal they may be feeling.

  • Encourage a visit to the app store. There are numerous apps that can make seniors feel engaged during the holidays.  Skype is just the beginning.  There are holiday countdowns, virtual advent calendars, holiday wallpapers, and even apps that allow you to decorate virtual Christmas trees.  You can also encourage family members to go to this website and easily create a video of each other as dancing elves and share them with each other.  It’s a great way to engage family members near and far.

However you choose to spend your holidays, ESCO wishes you the best!

 

12Dec2016

ESCO’s Santa for a Senior Success

Three years ago, two ESCO employees came up with an idea to help out some seniors in communities we were partnered with.  Fueled entirely by internal employee donations, 2014’s drive produced 32 gift bags for seniors in need of holiday cheer.  The second year showed a modest improvement and 40 gift bags were assembled and distributed between two communities.  This year, those numbers were blown right out of the water.

Thanks to a combined effort of ESCO’s leadership and employees’ generous donations, we managed to fill a grand total of 240 gift bags for seniors in need this year!

Here’s a peak at the inside of one of the 240 gift bags ESCO’s elves filled for seniors…

inside-bag

And here are a couple of ESCO elves in action, filling bags and sorting gifts!

filling-bags

 

All told, we were able to make gift bags for 14 different senior living communities.  We asked each community to choose their residents most in need of a holiday pick me up, whether they receive our services or not, and let them know that we are thinking of them and want them to have the best holiday season possible.  The gifts will be shipped out (or hand delivered if locations permits) later this week.

We look forward to making next year’s Santa for Seniors program even bigger.  We believe that every senior should feel important during the busy holiday season, and strive to give our communities the best customer service possible.  If you’d like more information about ESCO’s Santa for Seniors program, click here.  We’d love to hear from you!

5Dec2016

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Seniors

snow-on-tree

The holidays are upon us and with them comes the inevitable cold weather.  The extreme temps affect us all, but seniors are more vulnerable to the cold and need to take some extra precautions to stay safe.  We’ve put together a few tips and tricks for seniors to stay safe and healthy this winter.  Feel free to share it with any seniors you may have in your life!

  • Remember, seniors are more vulnerable to cold weather. They can lose body heat more quickly, and are at greater risk of hypothermia.  For more information on seniors and hypothermia risks, read this great booklet from the National Institute on Aging.  And keep this crucial information in mind from HealthinAging.org:

“Older people tend to shiver less or not at all when their body temperature drops.”

  • Dress in thin layers. From HealthinAging.org’s Winter Safety Tips for Older Adults: “Wearing 2 or 3 thinner layers of loose-fitting clothing is warmer than a single layer of thick clothing.”  Layering can help ward off hypothermia when seniors are going to be outdoors for extended periods of time.seniors-in-jackets
  • Be prepared while traveling. Make sure to keep an extra blanket in the car.  You never know when extenuating circumstances may necessitate pulling over and turning off the car – and cutting off the heat supply.
  • Protect your skin.  Seniors need to keep their skin moisturized, especially in the winter time.  As the Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens, Inc. points out on their Cold Weather Tips for Seniors,

“As we age our skin becomes thinner and drier, thus more prone to tears. Keep the dangers of dryness low by using a humidifier to keep your air moist, drink plenty of water and eat foods high in water content like soups and vegetables, and moisturize your skin daily with creams and lotions.”

  • Protect yourself from slipping on the ice. Choose shoes with good traction and consider a cane tip like this one when walking outdoors in the winter.

footprints-in-the-snow

  • Combat social isolation. Make sure to stay connected with friends and family.  The days are shorter and the dreary weather can cause some people to feel depressed or sad.  It’s hard for some seniors to travel in the winter, but modern technology can bring people together from the safety and warmth of their own living rooms.  Click here if you’d like some information on how ESCO Technologies can make staying connected easy and simple for seniors all year round.

 

 

28Nov2016

ESCO Technologies and Santa for Seniors

present-red-bow

With the holidays upon us we thought we’d like to share a little bit about a program that a couple of great ESCO employees began two years ago.  Recognizing the fact that not every resident in the senior living communities we serve has family and friends close by during the holidays, Tracy Hulse and Lindsey Marshall worked together to try to bridge that gap.  They decided that since ESCO is in the business of providing great customer service to senior citizens, we should take it even farther and brighten their holiday experience.

Tracy and Lindsey took the initiative and organized a company wide gift drive for our communities.  They collected various self-care items from the ESCO team and organized them into festive gift bags.  These bags were then distributed to various seniors living in our communities that needed holiday cheer.

Here’s a glimpse of ESCO’s previous Santa for Senior projects in action

adopt-a-senior-3  adopt-a-senior-2

This year, the program is expected to be bigger and better than ever before.  In lieu of donations, our Santa for Seniors team is accepting cash donations.  The donations will be used to purchase the presents for each senior’s holiday gift bag.  Each item will then be hand selected by our Santa team and thoughtfully arranged into equal, standardized gift bags for our seniors.

In addition to the items purchased, a hand crafted ornament is included in each gift bag – adding a personal touch to the entire experience.  ESCO employees truly care about the seniors we serve, and we like to show it.  Check back with us in a few weeks for pictures from this year’s Santa for a Senior at ESCO Technologies!

star-ornaments

7Nov2016

Culinary Trends in Senior Living

steak-and-eggs

For most retired folks, meals are the main focal points of their day. That’s why so many senior living communities put a special emphasis on their menus and dining options.  Seniors want and expect quality dining experiences when they choose to move to a senior living community.  And this trend isn’t going away any time soon; it was number 2 on McKnight’s list of design trends to watch in 2016.

“Older adults’ preferences are revolutionizing fundamental designs related to daily services, such as dining.  Today, they are seeking interactive meal experiences, not just a room in which to eat a meal.” –McKnight’s Senior Living

Today’s seniors are coming from a culture of food snobbery and dining as more of a social experience than a means to an end.  It’s become par for the course to take pictures of a meal’s presentation on the plate before taking the first bite and posting the picture to social media – indicating that this movement is far from slowing down.

banana-pie

These days, most people are used to having dining options galore, and seniors are not likely to voluntarily give that up.

“The race is on in senior housing,” said Andrew Carle, founding director of the senior housing administration program at George Mason University.  “We know the people coming in next really expect more choices, so operators are saying food is going to be a huge competitive advantage.” – the New York Times

Click here to read more from the New York Times about how senior living communities are getting creative and using dining experiences to combat seniors’ decreasing appetites, adapt to taste bud and memory loss, and more.

More evidence that food is a trending subject in senior housing: just this month Sodexo unveiled plans to roll out their Bistro 464 concept to over 100 senior living communities nationwide.  The Bistro is designed to be a supplemental dining service that caters to this generation of seniors that craves more than standard, bland, “hospital” food.  You can read more about the Bistro 464 concept here and here.

If you’re interested in learning about how ESCO Technologies can help your community broadcast your dining menus and services to your residents via InteracTV’s community channel, contact us for a quick chat.

 

31Oct2016

4 Tips for Ensuring Senior Safety at Your Community

adobestock_124210106

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

senior-technology

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!

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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