7Nov2016

Culinary Trends in Senior Living

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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.

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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

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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.

28Sep2016

ESCO’s President Jerry Grove Presents His Unique Solution to Confusing Remotes

Dexterity issues can become commonplace as we age, making TV remotes challenging to use when there are over 50 buttons – many of them small.   For seniors with limited mobility or arthritis, complicated remotes with features they aren’t even interested in using can be an unnecessary obstacle to enjoying their television services.  Jerry Grove set out on a mission to solve this problem.  Click play for his managed remote solution.

26Sep2016

Staying Active And Vital: How Seniors Can Feel Young And Healthy

By Jim Vogel, ElderAction.org

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Photo via Pixabay by Misign

Retirement can be a time for relaxing, traveling, and spending weekends with the grandkids, but for many, it can be a lonely transition from an active life. It’s important for seniors to maintain things socially, to stay active and fit, and to find activities that they enjoy doing so that they can stay happy and vital.

As long as an individual is physically able, daily exercise should be a priority. Not only does it help us stay fit, it can benefit joint health, stress levels, and anxiety, and it’s something that can often be done with others in a social setting. Getting up and moving is hugely beneficial to both the body and mind; it’s recommended for those battling depression because exercising releases chemicals in the brain that make the individual feel happy, and it also allows the person to focus on the present moment rather than worrying about the future or ruminating on the past.

Here are some of the best ways to stay active after retirement.

Gardening

It may not sound like exercise, but gardening is pretty labor intensive and requires a lot of energy, especially in warmer months. You’ll get the added benefit of reaping the rewards come harvest time if you choose to plant veggies. Just be sure to wear light, breathable clothing in layers and wear a hat and sunscreen anytime you’re outdoors. Bug spray isn’t a bad idea, either, especially in these times of the Zika virus.

Walking/jogging

Of course, you’ll only want to walk or jog on a well-maintained trail to avoid falls, and make sure to wear good sturdy shoes and stay hydrated. Choose a park that has plenty of benches or rest areas so that if you get overheated or tired, you can sit down and take a break. This is an activity you could do with friends or even a small group, so you can be social while you get in a workout.

Swimming/water activities

Check with your local YMCA or public pool to see if there are classes available for senior activities, or just set certain days to go for a swim. Being in the water is calming and the weightless feeling helps you move more easily than you would on land, making it beneficial for joint pain.

Play with pets

Dogs can be a big source of comfort and fun for seniors; studies have shown that petting a calm dog can possibly lower blood pressure and stress levels. They are also great companions when it’s time for a workout. If you don’t own a dog, consider looking into dog walking or boarding through a site like Rover.com, which pairs up pet owners with responsible caregivers who can come let the animal out while they’re at work or out of town.

Staying active and healthy can help seniors feel they are their best selves, and it can also help push back the aches and pains that come with age. While safety is always a priority, it’s important to do what you can to feel good and get moving.

Jim Vogel created ElderAction.org along with his wife after they became caregivers for their aging parents. The site is dedicated to promoting senior health and providing valuable information to seniors and their caregivers to help ensure our nation’s seniors are able to thrive throughout their golden years.

 

21Sep2016

ESCO’s Solution to Shoddy Cell Phone Coverage

We’ve all been there.  Expecting an important call or excited to share something new with family, only to look at our cell phones and discover – there’s no signal.  It’s frustrating.  It makes us less productive.  But we don’t have to accept that.

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ESCO Technologies developed a solution for this problem after hearing complaints about poor reception at the Senior Living Communities we service.  In time, we came to realize that poor cell phone coverage is just a fact of life in many senior living communities.  Since we are a technology company that focuses on making residents’ better, we decided to fix it.

Place Phone Calls Over Wi-Fi

Ubiquity Mobile allows users to make phone calls using their Wi-Fi signal instead of their mobile network.  Even if you are stuck in a “dead zone,” your call will go through.  Not only will your call go through in HD Voice, you can lower your cell phone voice plan.

Ubiquity has many benefits!  For instance, users can make unlimited international calls.  This is a great tool for people with friends and families outside of the United States.  Ubiquity’s user friendly interface can also make video calls over Wi-Fi, and even has business phone capabilities.

Seamless Call Transfers Between Devices

With Ubiquity Mobile, you can seamlessly transfer calls between the Ubiquity Mobile app on your smartphone to an associated business phone, or business phone to a smartphone.  Not only can you transfer calls easily; using Ubiquity can allow your business phone number to ring on multiple devices when there is an incoming call.  For instance, if you are away from your desk and a call comes in, you can be notified on your smartphone and tablet at the same time!

CareConnect Ubiquity Mobile can keep residents and staff connected.  Seniors are vulnerable to feelings of loneliness and isolation.  With the general trend of dropping land lines and going exclusively to cell phones, you don’t want your residents to suffer from hit or miss cell reception.  Ubiquity Mobile also benefits you.  When you are on an important call but need to get on the road, just transfer that call to your smartphone and enjoy the ride.

Benefits of CareConnect Ubiquity Mobile

  • Keeps your residents and employees connected
  • Easily make calls over Wi-Fi and save your voice plan
  • Seamless call transfers across multiple devices
  • Unlimited international calling
  • Ring registered phone number on all devices, including your tablet
  • User friendly interface
  • HD Voice & Video calling capabilities
  • Never worry about cell signal
15Jun2016

Why Your Senior Living Nurse Call System Needs Fine Tuning Now

QMT31TBG60.pngYour nurse call system can be in the forefront of the interactions between your residents and the caregivers in your facility.  How it functions can play a large part in resident satisfaction.  As an integral piece of the assisted living puzzle, your nurse call system is too important to be passed over when it comes to upgrading equipment.  Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether your senior living nurse call system may need fine tuning, now.  

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