The Senior Boom is Coming: How Technology Can Assist in the Long-Term Care of Baby Boomers
The Senior Boom is Coming: How Technology Can Assist in the Long-Term Care of Baby Boomers5 minutes
In 2020, the oldest of Canada’s baby boomers will turn 72. The entire generation makes up 9.5 million people in Canada alone, and in the coming decades many will be considering their move into some form of assisted living or long-term care.
For an industry that is already susceptible to burnout from fatigue and stress, leaders in long-term care are investing in forward-thinking strategies and changes to ease the burden on facilities and caretakers alike. The future success of the long-term care industry will be impacted by how it adapts to these fast-approaching (and growing) demands.
Turning to Technology
Many facilities are turning to technology for answers. Going beyond standard upgrades, long-term care decision-makers are seeking out technology that is designed specifically to expedite improvements in how residents and patients are cared for, while reducing the workload nurses are burdened with day-to-day. This is a reaction to the simple fact that Boomers are the first generation to enter their retirement age familiar (if not savvy) with the internet and technology. In fact, more than 80% of people aged 65-74 are already online and 70% say technology helps them communicate1. That means, not only will they be comfortable using smart, enhanced communication devices, but they will expect it.
With this new set of expectations, the demands on current infrastructure will mount. The long-term care industry has some work to do. According to Michael Moskowitz, Chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America, “Canada needs to rethink how it supports the aging population through the implementation of functional housing and care solutions that will allow them to thrive within their communities… By investing in innovative solutions that will enable our seniors to thrive, we are providing a strong foundation for them to maintain their health, lifestyle and independence.”
Canada faces an unprecedented rise in the number of seniors potentially needing care, and that only underlines another problem on the horizon: a drastic shortage of nurses to care for them. Just five years ago The Canadian Nurses Association predicted a shortfall of 60,000 qualified nurses by 2022.2
How Can a Nurse Call System Help?
This is yet another reason that technology is being called upon to support the future of long-term care. Wireless communication technology has the unique power to reduce the workload of staff, improve their job satisfaction, and increase their quality of care. Innovative patient-to-staff communication solutions like Panasonic’s Nurse Call System are already proving to be game changers for facilities, staff and residents alike. One touch speed dialing on pendants, wrist-worn devices, or a digital communication terminal connect patients directly to automated menus with facility information, as well as drink and food buttons. Having instant access to these everyday items reduce unnecessary calls and alerts to staff. This will effectively reduce an issue commonly known as “alarm fatigue”, whereby a staff member who is exposed to frequent alarms or alerts can become desensitized to them. Two-way communication allows for instant prioritization, and more effective staff allocation. On-demand patient information available at a digital terminal not only speeds up call responses but puts valuable information into the hands of staff and facility owner/operators.
When staff feels less burdened and more empowered to respond effectively, not only will turnover and burnout decline, but overall quality of care will vastly improve. Effective workload management trickles down and ultimately benefits residents, and their families. When the sense of security and comfort is put in the hands of residents, the long-term care industry is leaps and bounds closer to providing the kind of environment that enables health, lifestyle and independence.
For administrators and long-term care management, integrating a comprehensive wireless care solution that adapts to existing analogue systems will even lower operating costs. For many, the solution is a retrofit infrastructure upgrade, not a complete “start over”. And, by moving to a single provider for hardware, software, installation and support, this solution effectively eliminates the need for multiple vendors and the potential for costly upheavals to daily operations.
The Future of Senior Living
Long-term care leaders know, the time to invest in tomorrow, is today. They know that dedicated wireless communication technology is an investment in sustainable operations, just as much as it is in quality senior care.
The conversation around Canada’s aging population is being tackled by innovative technology solutions that empower senior residents and create blueprints for effective workload management and profits. Panasonic is leading the way, developing new-build and retrofit technology solutions to assist Canada’s senior care and long-term care industry. From wireless, wearable technology and two-way communication systems, to digital communication terminals and real-time data fully integrated within current systems, we are innovating the future of senior living.
1 Anderson, M., & Perrin, A. (2019, December 31). Technology use among seniors. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2017/05/17/technology-use-among-seniors/
2 Resolutions presented to the CNA Annual Meeting of Members, June 9, 2015. Retrieved from https://cna-aiic.ca/~/media/cna/page-content/pdf-en/2015-resolutions-to-cna-annual-meeting_e.pdf?la=en