18Apr2017

Is Your Senior Living Technology Relevant to Today’s Seniors?

Technology makes our lives easier and continues to advance and make a greater impact as time goes on.  Even in the senior living industry, not staying on top of current technology trends can be detrimental to business.  If you haven’t taken stock of how your community is comparing to others in your area, you should.  Here’s a short list of where to compare your community’s technology capabilities with your competitors and why it’s important to make sure your community measures up.

TV Service:  The desire for options in modern senior living can’t be stressed enough. Today’s aging population is accustomed to television options that go beyond the standard select channels. With the growth of digital cable and networks for every topic imaginable, seniors expect more advanced entertainment options.For even more customization, interactive senior television takes resident engagement to the next level. With a program like InteracTV, residents’ TV experience is a two-way street. They can enjoy their favorite shows while also viewing upcoming community events, scheduling appointments or ordering takeout.

Safety:  Nothing shows your community’s commitment to residents like solid safety precautions. With modern safety technology, like wireless nurse call systems, residents are not only safer, but your community is also more efficient. With a wireless nurse call system, wireless pendants allow staff to discretely track activity patterns and monitor medical needs, alerting them to health issues as they arise. This technology also give residents a sense of security knowing they are protected across the entire campus, and can quickly get the help they need in case of an emergency.

Internet Connection:  Having weak, slow internet is unacceptable these days.  Fast internet connections are required for facetiming with loved ones and streaming videos and music.  Seniors are looking for ways to stay connected to the world after they make the move to a senior living community.  If your community can’t provide the kind of internet connection necessary, potential residents are going to turn to a community that can.

The choice to upgrade senior living technology can be daunting. But not having the important discussions to take the right next steps can stunt growth and the ability to remain competitive. Contact us to find out how ESCO Technologies can help you find the best approach to evaluate your current senior living technology and illustrate what streamlined senior TV, Internet, phone and life safety systems can mean for your community.

29Mar2017

ESCO Technologies Acquires Emergency Response Solutions

Move Will Further Enhance ESCOs Award-Winning CareConnect Managed Services Solution for Senior Communities

Liberty Township, OH – ESCO Technologies, LLC announced it is acquiring Emergency Response Solutions (ERS), maker of ERS ECall. ERS Ecall is an Inovonics-based system with patented smartphone integration technology.

“The addition of ERS’s patented interactive wireless life safety communications system will certainly make ESCO a top contender for the emergency call system of choice in the senior living industry,” said Mike Halverson CEO president of ERS.

This move will allow ESCO to provide its own enhanced e-call product as part of its CareConnect managed services solution. CareConnect is the only integrated telecommunications suite designed specifically for the senior housing market, and includes residential and business telephone, TV, and Internet, as well as wireless nurse call systems such as ERS Ecall.

“One of the key elements to our continued success is having control of the technology that we deploy,” said ESCO CEO Jerry Grove. “Nurse call systems were the foundation of CareConnect. Acquiring ERS gives us the opportunity to bring the technology in-house and make it a truly seamless part of the CareConnect solution.”

ERS has been a pioneer in e-call technology and has over 50 years of experience in the security/life safety field, from product design to sales and service. Grove said the company plans to enhance ERS Ecall to better integrate it with CareConnect’s senior-friendly design and focus. Planned enhancements include:

  • Integration with CareConnect television service,
  • Integration with CareConnect’s managed TV remote, and
  • Free Wifi calling with a smartphone interface.
  • Android and/or Apple devices for caregivers to receive alerts with automatic updated reports and documentation.

The enhanced product will become the cornerstone of CareConnect Managed Ecall. This managed service solution that will include onsite support from CareConnect’s unique Technology Concierge, an ESCO employee who works onsite in senior communities to support CareConnect. The Technology Concierge will set up residents with their Ecall pendants and will monitor the system’s battery alert and replace batteries as needed – a critical step that can literally mean the difference between life or death.

The Technology Concierge will also perform regular system audits to check for issues like missing devices, as well as monthly testing of critical components – all tasks that would otherwise fall on overworked community staff.

Grove noted that the acquisition of ERS is just the latest major strategic investment by ESCO.

“Over the past 18 months, we’ve invested in larger office space, warehouse facilities and our NOC (network operations center),” he said. “And we have several more initiatives in the pipeline that we’ll announce soon. This reflects our growth strategy and commitment to being the premier single-source technology solution for senior living.”

CareConnect Managed Ecall is expected to be available for CareConnect customers immediately. ESCO will also begin work immediately on the planned product enhancement road map as the company strives to deliver unique features that customers have requested.

About ESCO Technologies

ESCO Technologies is the nation’s exclusive provider of an integrated suite of wholesale communications and entertainment solutions for the senior living industry through its award winning CareConnect product. The company also offers innovative telecommunications services for businesses and consumers, such as the Ubiquity Mobile cellphone service. For more information, visit careconnectbyesco.com.

 

24Mar2017

ESCO Technologies, Harbor Networks and Nauset Construction Form Unique Technology Partnership For Senior Housing

Alliance Will Bring Best-In-Class Managed Technology Solution to New Senior Community Construction Projects

Liberty Township, OH; Framingham, MA; Needham, MA – ESCO Technologies, LLC, Harbor Networks, Inc., and Nauset Construction announced they have partnered on a single-source managed services solution geared to new construction in the senior housing market.

The single-source solution will feature ESCO’s CareConnect – the only integrated telecommunications suite designed specifically for the senior housing market. It includes residential and business telephone, TV, Internet and nurse call/safety systems.

Along with customized technology, CareConnect also offers a unique “high-touch” service – the Technology Concierge. The Technology Concierge is an ESCO employee who works onsite at senior communities, assisting with everything from new resident setup to day-to-day questions like how to connect a new TV.

The partnership brings together the three distinct elements that go into the technology infrastructure of complex projects such as senior living communities: designing, building and implementation. Harbor Networks provides business consultation services for voice and data communications technologies. Nauset Construction is a construction management and design-build firm that excels at complex projects on challenging sites with aggressive time and budget requirements.

“It all started at a senior living trade show,” remembered Lou Lindsey, ESCO’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “The crowd at the show was not the right audience for my pitch, so I struck up a conversation with a couple of other vendors. That first discussion turned into many more, and they led us to conclude that we should form a triangular arrangement to capitalize on our strengths.”

Harbor Network’s President, Greg Bertschmann, agreed. “It’s a terrific value proposition for investors and developers. Instead of multiple providers operating in their own silos, you’ve got one team that offers best-in-class builders and technology implementation specialists, and a best-in-class technology solution tailor-made for these types of projects.”

“We’ve been delivering our solution for more than a decade,” said ESCO’s Lindsey. “And staying in sync with the construction and infrastructure side of these projects was always a challenge.”

“You’re talking about a multi-million-dollar investment, and you’re expected to stay, on time, on budget and deliver a resort-style entertainment and life-safety solution,” added Benjamin Goldfarb, VP Business Development of Nauset Construction. “You can save time and money if you have a seamless flow of information between all the players. Plus, I don’t think you could assemble another team that had the combined expertise we’re offering.”

About ESCO Technologies

ESCO Technologies is the nation’s exclusive provider of an integrated suite of wholesale communications and entertainment solutions for the senior living industry through its award winning CareConnect product. The company also offers innovative telecommunications services for businesses and consumers, such as the Ubiquity Mobile cellphone service. For more information, visit careconnectbyesco.com.

 About Harbor Networks

Harbor Networks is a communications systems integrator and managed solutions provider that offers business consultation services for voice and data communications technologies. Harbor Networks partners with resellers and solutions providers worldwide and has established a footprint in national and international theatres, with customers in 43 states and 15 countries. For more information, visit www.harbornetworks.com.

About Nauset Construction

Nauset Construction is a construction management and design-build firm run by industry veterans with a shared goal of providing an unparalleled positive client experience. Known for taking a collaborative approach throughout the project cycle, Nauset provides creative ideas and alternative methods that reduce cost and increase value to its clients, while creating lasting relationships. For more information, visit www.nausetconstruction.com.

 

 

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

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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