Society, and especially health care, is continually changing.
According to Celeste Laney, director of nursing at the Gardens at McGregor Home in Cleveland, and Jim Newbrough, CEO of Menorah Park in Beachwood, senior living changes just as frequently.
The professionals said the modernization of senior living varies.
“What’s unique for McGregor and modernization specifically is our rooms are private, they follow the family model and have an open floor plan,” Laney said. “We have places within the facility that work with the independent living model. All the homes are apartment-style, with washers and dryers. They have shower benches already in place for them and they have easy access, so no adjustments are needed.”
Newbrough said many strides towards modernization relate to technology.
“It’s very important in today’s world that you’re connected with other parts of the health system,” he explained. “You have to be able to share and exchange information and that cuts down on errors and improves quality and also increases efficiency. Technology has been a big piece of that to help connect us to the rest of the healthcare system.”
Newbrough added many clients access Menorah Park’s services off-campus, so technology continues to allow that relationship to continue.
Laney agreed, adding since seniors live and stay at home longer, technology keeps them healthy.
“Patients are living longer, so it’s nice they’re able to maintain their home environment, their quality of life and personal identity with the proper resources, and they have a safe environment to do so,” she stated. “So, by modernizing and giving them access to technology, that is a great feature to keep them cared for and connected.”
Technology also allows senior care to be efficient, Newbrough noted.
“What everyone is trying to do is figure out more ways to be efficient in the care that you’re delivering,” he said. “And the way to do that is the whole exchange of information when someone comes from the hospital or the community and into our organization. Technology helps with that, and it helps you be more efficient in meeting quality standards, as well as back-office billing functions.”
As the rest of society, and namely health care, develops, the professionals said senior living has a duty to follow suit.
“Seniors are living longer and there is a misperception that as you age, you shouldn’t be able to be independent,” Laney said. “So, with education in the community and maintaining modern technology, this also maintains functionality.”
Newbrough added, “If you look at the amount of money that is spent in this country for healthcare, the majority of it is as people age. What we want to do is try and keep people well. We don’t want to be responding and treating people after the fact. This helps minimize healthcare issues and problems they have towards the end of life. We’re here to help them navigate a complicated system.”
Into the future of senior living, Newbrough and Laney expect a push for mobile and telemedicine.
“With telemedicine, you don’t necessarily need to go to the doctor physically for followups and checkups,” she stated. “This will be beneficial to keep them out of the hospital. I see telemedicine and portable services growing due to many different reasons, specifically regarding issues with transportation, busy family members and insurance.”
Newbrough added, “Part of what you’re going to see is less reliance on physical facilities. In the past, we’ve built a lot of buildings for people to come and live on campus. Now, people want to live in their homes and stay there. It’s less of a matter of people coming to us, it’s about taking these services out into the community and meeting them there.”