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Senior Living and It's Technological Landscape

Senior living communities are constantly looking for ways to improve operations, strengthen relationships with residents and keep them happy, engaged, and healthy.   From fit-bits to floor sensors, senior living facilities are collecting data to improve senior care and general contractors are being called in to tailor rooms that will help generate this information.  There are currently five key areas where technology is changing the senior living landscape in 2019: wearables, the Internet of Things, telemedicine, voice activation and security.   The goal with this technology is not just to show providers what residents are doing. It’s to predict what residents will do, how to modify care to best suit them.

The technology boom in senior living starts in the same places it does in regular homes: technologies that people can touch and feel in their everyday lives, known as “wearables”.  Resident-facing technologies include tablets, interactive TVs, artificial intelligence-enabled personal assistants such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa, virtual reality systems or personal gaming systems.  General contractors in NJ find they’re building out spaces specifically marked for interactive TVs and little nooks for gaming to commence.

The internet of things covers web-connected physical items that can send and receive data in a senior living facility. Examples of these items in senior living are smartphones and tablets, televisions, activity trackers and lighting systems.  Fit-bits are used to gather data about activity, exercise, heart rate, and sleep patterns which are all relayed to staff that can turn this data into ways to better assist the resident.  Benchmark has created a smart unit for senior living communities where the technology on the resident’s body — the wearables — works in concert with the technology in the resident’s apartment, making the entire apartment a part of the internet of things.  That means, for example, a lighting system that adjusts brightness and color depending on when the resident triggers the system. If someone is disoriented easily by lights, you don’t want to shine a bright light in their face at 2 a.m. when they wake to use the bathroom.  Instead, lights reach 50% intensity and can turn to blue instead of white, while an alert goes to staff so that someone can physically assist the resident. Along with light sensors, Benchmark smart homes are implementing air conditioning, heating and AI personal assistants

Though the primary benefits of wearables and these internet modules in senior living facilities are a resident’s happiness and safety, the technological advances leading to telemedicine can keep a resident healthy.  Many senior living facilities have taken up initiatives in these four areas: Videoconference, where a health care provider can speak to patient and their family or many seniors at once.  Remote-patient monitoring, giving senior living residents greater access to data around their vitals, with information on weight, blood pressure and blood sugar.  Computer and health literacy, enabling seniors to more immediately educate themselves about their own health by becoming more comfortable with web research.  Lastly, teleconsultations, limiting the number of physical trips seniors must make for their health care.

A recurring thread through wearables, internet, and telemedicine is voice activation technology — tech that is activated through human voice commands. From lights that a senior resident can switch on or off from bed just by speaking, to a resident being able to talk to personal voice assistant devices to adjust the television, a resident’s ability to use her voice is critical for positive user experience that empowers residents.

With all of this technology at work, new security issues around data privacy and identity come into the senior living community. Providers are also using technology to increase physical security of residents and facilities. For physical security, Sunrise uses solutions such as automated and pass-key-activated locking exterior doors, while also evaluating the use of embedded chips in wearables to ensure resident safety. For physical safety, there has been a decline in nurse call system neck pendants with an increase in watches. To prevent falls, use of personal emergency response systems, or PERS, will increase as the technology gets smarter and can determine when people have fallen. Even more advanced: systems that anticipate falls by analyzing a person’s gait, or those that use computer vision to analyze a person’s movements around obstacles.

The biggest technology trend in senior living for 2018, though, is not any particular item: it’s how they work together. That means technology companies are building a system designed specifically for senior living, and senior living providers.

Posted by Donand Construction Corp on: 2019-06-29 13:43:55

Safety First in Senior Living Accommodations

A common reason for families to decide on moving their elderly loved ones into senior living accommodations is for safety.   For people to move safely around their homes, entrances without steps, single-floor living and wide hallways and doors are needed to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Less than 4% of single-family homes have all three of those accessibility features, according to the Harvard study.  This is not to say that senior living facilities aren’t without dangers.   General contractors in NJ are committed to ensuring the following preventions for these safety hazards are in place.

1. Poor Lighting in Living Areas

The leading cause of injury to seniors in assisted living facilities is falls. Make sure that the lighting in your loved one’s living areas is neither too dim nor too bright. Dim lighting can lead residents to trips and falls.  Lighting that is too bright is just as dangerous – it may obscure hazards that cause elderly people to get hurt. If you are concerned about a lighting situation, the fix may be as simple as placing an additional lamp in the room or changing a light bulb.  General contractors have become very cautious of light placement and wattage.

2. Obstructed Walkways

Obstructed walkways pose significant dangers in senior living facilities, especially to those who rely on a cane or walker to get around. Each time you visit your loved one in an assisted living facility or nursing home, check to make sure that he or she has a clear path to the bathroom and to common areas. Help your loved one keep his or her space organized, and make sure that clutter does not accumulate on the floor.  General contractors have been tasked with creating new ways to add storage space to existing rooms.  Often, a closet system will be built out or low hanging shelves.

3. Inadequate Handrails in Bathrooms

Grab bars and handrails in bathrooms are essential safety measures in senior living facilities. Upon initial visit, be sure that there are handrails near the toilet and grab bars in the shower or tub. These may need to be adjusted based on your loved one’s height and/or physical limitations. General contractors have created new types of showers with easier access to entrance, with safety rails and built in seating to maximize safety.

4. Carpets and Floor Coverings in Poor Condition

Poorly maintained flooring surfaces are a leading cause of falls in nursing homes. Do not place your loved one in a senior living facility that needs significant upgrades, such as new carpet or linoleum flooring. Carpet in assisted living facilities should be clean and in good condition. Carpet should also be low pile – shag or high pile carpeting increases the likelihood that someone will trip and get hurt. Rugs should be used sparingly (if at all) in senior living facilities. Seniors are prone to trip on rugs that are loose or not properly secured.  Donand Construction Corp. has been the resident commercial contractor in several senior living accommodations and regularly replaces carpet and linoleum flooring to ensure the safety of the residents.

Safety is imperative in any living space, so it should definitely be a priority for the assisted living community you choose. If you need assistance in upgrading your senior living facility or if you're looking for a resident facilities maintenance contractor, to assist you in reaching your safety goals, please reach out to Donand Construction Corp.. Safety is a top priority to us too.

Posted by Donand Construction Corp on: 2019-06-02 23:59:12

ASHA Reports on Top Senior Living Accommodations

According to a report released Monday by the American Seniors Housing Association, making new friends is the most important thing to people searching for senior living accommodations. Camaraderie had the highest impact on residents’ perceptions of three key quality indicators: feeling at home, willingness to recommend, and value for the money spent. General contractors are finding creative ways to re-purpose existing common spaces in older buildings and drafting multipurpose rooms in new construction to invite socialization and create new friendships.

General contractors who are asked to work with existing space find they're knocking down walls for a greater, open air feel and more room to mingle. Common areas are also being deemed dual purpose, giving senior living facilities room to host more activities and in turn having more interests to draw in potential dwellers. It's also been seen that some senior living accommodations are doing away with their work out rooms and designating them for other social focal points. Many general contractors report that senior living residents are being taken off site to use local gyms. This is great for most residents who want a break from the every day routine of being on site.

New construction continues to focus on state of the art movie rooms, libraries that have room for second function gatherings, and large sunny recreation rooms. Senior living facilities are encouraging people to mingle and it's the job of the staff to see it through. Employees of these senior living communities are employed to be extra attentive and discourage unfriendly behavior between residents. Out of all of the things senior living accommodations focus on: providing great service, great amenities and a great physical plant, the importance of fostering relationships, connections, and friendships has pushed it's way to top priority.

Senior living communities will always hold dining in high regard. The American Seniors Housing Association placed "quality of food" right behind camaraderie . Many general contractors are being called upon to revamp existing restaurants to eliminate cramped dining spaces and create high end touches like an open air kitchen. Senior living facilities are also focusing more on flavors and healthy eating. Operators are trying to bring in dishes that remind residents of home. There has also been a huge shift in healthier dining options with more plant based meals and less saturated fats.

Newer facilities are finding innovative ways to use dining as entertainment. This can be in the form of cooking classes, pop up dining establishments, and chef cook off competitions.   Senior living accommodations are boasting of their new kitchens and want to put them on display but letting them serve as multi-use for, in this case, dining and entertainment. General contractors have reported a huge budget allowance for new dining areas.

The last of the top 3 demands for potential senior living residents, surprisingly, is value. Prices for senior living accommodations vary across the country. A quick search brings up a bracket of between $2,500 - $6,000 a month for simply a base room (not including meals or services). In the past 6 years, cost of senior living has risen by approximately 2% each year. As the American Seniors Housing Association has recorded and rocketing prices by year has proven, you cannot put a price on friendship and great food.

Posted by Donand Construction Corp on: 2019-05-01 00:34:13

Senior Living Facilities Seek Ways to Draw New Residents

As NJ general contractors are tasked with the seemingly simple job of creating a layout for senior living accommodations, operators are looking for ways to draw in new residents.   From offering free rent, adjoining memberships to high end work out facilities, and promising dining options that can rival high end restaurants, senior living facilities are raising the bar and the perks to entice potential dwellers.

Deer Valley Senior Living, a community for the ages of 55 and older in north Phoenix, announced its “Giveaway Extravaganza,” which will provide one lucky person with an opportunity to win one year of free rent valued at over $42,000.  The luxury senior apartment is conveniently located across the street from world-class hospitals, like Cancer Center of America, along with other doctors and specialists. Not to mention it is situated next to some great shopping complexes.  To be entered in the drawing, one must tour the senior living facility and join their mailing list, would could possibly rope in new residents in of itself.

Brandywine Living senior living facility in West Virginia has partnered with a local boutique work out center to offer residents an exclusive membership to Mystique Muscle Co. in an attempt to draw in senior living residents who want living quarters within assisted accommodations, but that are also offered an opportunity to exercise off site with the best trainers in the area. Many general contractors have seen a decrease in lavish exercise rooms because the idea of an off-site higher end facility has been favored.

At Oakmont of Fair Oaks senior living facility  in California, it is easy to become a little spoiled when it comes to fine dining.  Their executive chef and staff of culinary professionals make every meal an experience. Not only has their culinary staff been hand-selected from some of the finest culinary schools and fine dining facilities, but they have also undergone the extensive training Oakmont Senior Living facility has become known for:  they specialize in quality of service and ensures that they can accommodate any special needs that may come up due to dietary restrictions or health concerns. They even offer potential residents to come in for a complimentary dinner to prove their worth.

A senior living community in Wexford, Florida has offered Disney World park passes to visiting family members of incoming residents in an effort to draw enrollment.   With the number of senior living candidates growing, many new members are offered special packages that include enticing incentives for family members to visit, saving them tons of money in the interim. A trend in senior living accommodations has been much thought into family visits. General contractors in NJ have seen that new facilities being built close to the Jersey Shore often partner up with local hotels for discounts to family instead of building on site accommodations.

Lastly, many new senior living accommodations are offering family rental units on site.  This is a huge selling point for many incoming residents. General contractors are finding they’re building guest rentals more commonly.  Elderly residents want visitors and an on site rental for family members makes it easy to spend the time without the extreme cost of lodging and transportation.   

Posted by Donand Construction Corp on: 2019-04-14 20:22:15

Downsizing to Senior Living Accommodations

When thinking about senior living facilities, most arrive at the idea of having to downsize.  Though general contractors are coming up with amazing new layouts, a single dwelling unit may seem unappealing at first glance.  Often times people have a house full of stuff and condensing it all into an apartment seems overwhelming.  Many people are hesitant to leave their family homes where memories have been made.  Surprisingly, there are many benefits to minimizing space. 

First, monthly bills will be much lower.  Funds normally used for a mortgage, utilities, and property insurance can be used for day trips, date nights, and paying down debt.  Senior living accommodations can offer less up keep, cleaning, and maintenance.  Moving into a senior living unit will allow you to start a new chapter, explore new hobbies, and clear out the clutter in your life.  If you move into a smaller apartment at a senior living community, you’ll have plenty of shared common areas to mix and mingle with others who have common interests.

Downsizing to a smaller senior living apartment on your own or at a senior living community is a multi step process. After putting your current home on the market, you'll have to weed out furniture you no longer want, purchase furniture that fits your smaller space, and find creative ways to make the most of your square footage. Plan ahead: it will cut down on stress.   Depending on the housing market, it could be months to years until you can move out.  Declutter:  there may be things you don't want to transfer into your new apartment.   Sell, donate, or antique what you can.  Don’t worry about fitting all your activities into a small apartment. Most senior living communities will have common spaces for hobbies like sewing, painting, woodworking, and more.

Small-space living means you can enjoy shared senior living community spaces (like a swimming pool) without having to maintain them. In your private senior living apartment, you can dedicate time to personalizing your senior living apartment space. Purchase folding chairs you can bring out for company and store when not in use.  Use built in storage space and nooks.   Invest in ottomans with tops that open to store blankets and books.  

There are many things you can do to make your senior living apartment seem larger and more open.  General contractors often leave walls white but this will make the space look larger.  Install an extra-long curtain rod at or near the ceiling for floor-to-ceiling draperies. It’ll make your window appear both taller and wider.  Mirrors reflect light deep into a room, making it appear larger. By reflecting both natural and artificial light, they brighten a room day and night. Use a focal point and angle your mirrors toward it to give a room more depth. Placing a mirror near a window to reflect the outdoors is especially effective. Mirrors on the walls will give your room a more open feel.  Built in storage is also key.  Beds with drawers underneath, furniture with extra storage space, and closet shelving units can allow for less clutter and more organization. 

Whether you’re looking for a small one-bedroom apartment or a larger two-bedroom with a den, senior living facilities are ready to house and help you.   Hopefully, these tips and tricks will carry over to your new home and be of much use.

Posted by Donand Construction Corp on: 2019-03-29 23:25:54