Customizable technology and ease of use are keys to senior care technology adoption, according to the latest research report commissioned by GeriJoy. The report, Senior Care Technology: A Path to Adoption highlights the use of technology in the field of senior care, and the priorities and concerns of top executives in the adoption of such technologies by both seniors and caregivers.
GeriJoy, the provider of virtual companions for senior care, commissioned a set of three focus groups with the Greater Boston senior care leaders and executives. The focus groups were conducted in Cambridge, MA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in late 2013, and were led by the non-profit consulting group The Solution Lab. The focus groups included the following attendees:
- Geriatric care managers
- Retirement community executives
- Home care agency owners and executives
Victor Wang, CEO of GeriJoy commented, “The attendees of our focus groups are industry leaders, with centuries of combined senior care experience. Thanks to their help, our research findings will be very helpful for anybody seeking to adopt or to develop innovative solutions in senior care.”
The report identified five core challenges in the adoption of technology by seniors and caregivers:
1. Maximizing ease of use
Technology must be easy to use, with an equally easy to use support system, such as 24/7 live phone support.
2. Customizing technology for each individual
Technology needs to be customized for interaction with each client. Many older adults have progressive illnesses that leave any one product/service with a specific window of time in which it is applicable.
3. Decreasing stigma associated with use of assistive devices
Because many seniors may be embarrassed by needing to use aids, masking the new technology (e.g. as an ordinary piece of attire or furniture) may be helpful in encouraging seniors to utilize devices.
4. Complementing rather than replacing human-delivered services
Senior care technology should have features that are not completely foreign to the target clientele, and should act more as a complement to a human-delivered service than as a replacement.
A focus group participant remarked, “One technology is not going to solve everything. In order for it to be sold well, it has to be complementary to a human-delivered service. If it is just enhancing an existing service, it would probably be much easier to sell, rather than if it completely disrupts or replaces something. Change is hard, at any age, and really hard in the 90’s.”
5. Training of staff members
Respondents overwhelmingly emphasized the importance of ensuring staff members are educated on not only how to use the technology, but also on how the technology can benefit them and the seniors they support.
The research also found two other key findings:
- One of the primary drivers for the adoption of technology is the burden of providing constant oversight for seniors who have dementia. Technology holds promise in allowing more efficient provision of this oversight, and a greater likelihood of capturing the crisis moment.
- Comprehensive staff training/onboarding combined with ongoing, outstanding technical support must be provided by the vendor of any technology-based product or service. These after-sale support programs are key areas that vendors should focus on improving.
Overall, the path towards adoption of technology in senior care is in the direction of more efficient, more effective oversight for dementia care, and it is paved by comprehensive staff training and outstanding tech support.
For more insights into pioneering senior care technology, including an interactive webinar about the research and a complimentary copy of the full report, visit http://www.gerijoy.com/senior-care-technology-a-path-to-adoption.html.
Featured image credit: GeriJoy