Many industries are moving toward green innovations and technology-based practices. And as generations who are concerned with the environment grow older, that permeates into industries like healthcare and senior living.
According to Courtney Catherine, admissions director at Landerbrook Transitional Care in Mayfield Heights; George Ferriell, interim executive director of Rose Senior Living in Avon, with a location coming to Beachwood; and Jim Newbrough, CEO of Menorah Park in Beachwood, many senior living communities are moving to implement eco-friendly practices and technology.
At Menorah Park, Newbrough said they’ve implemented practices like cutting down plastic bag use, adding flow-limiting water faucets and using appliances that are Energy Star certified.
“We’ve also cut down on the use of paper items, like our newsletters,” he added. “This is reducing the number of trees we’re killing. And as of July 1, we’re tobacco-, nicotine- and smoke-free. With our visitors, guests and staff, we’re also looking to be more environmentally conscious and healthy.”
Catherine said Landerbrook’s main initiative is cutting down on paper by switching to electronic medical records.
“It’s hard to get rid of paper in the medical field, but here we utilize electronic records as it increases the spread and accuracy for patient information,” she explained. “We also communicate with our local hospitals and social workers over an internet database, which is something traditionally done over fax. It has increased the speed of communication.”
Landerbrook also allows residents to see a doctor via a webcam, keeping residents out of the hospital, as hospital visits tend to lead to hospital stays.
As for Rose Senior Living, Ferriell said their communities are built with their environmental footprint in mind.
“So much of what we do on that end can happen in the background, like heating and cooling that is more sensitive to the environment that regulates at different times,” he explained. “Some of our communities also have large campuses with a significant amount of acreage. We build communities in a way that takes that space and keeps a lot of the green space that respects the area around us. And that is what families want – areas outside of the facility they can enjoy.”
Eco-friendly options go part-in-parcel with technology.
“When those things are done hand in hand, that allows developers to create a place where people want to live,” Ferriell said. “That is the case because, operationally, when you’re cognizant of the environment and technology and incorporating the best practices available, you’re creating a place where employees are effective and residents are happy.”
Newbrough added, “Eco-friendly living is on everyone’s minds. They’re concerned about trying to preserve the planet for their children and grandchildren and beyond. And they’re sensitive to the kind of planet they’re leaving for their children. They want to move to a place that is trying to preserve that. As for forward-facing technology, technology permeates all aspects of our lives. So, it’s important to have residents and staff stay connected, on-campus or off.”
Catherine said, “Facilities that focus on eco-friendly and technologically-based systems – it’s 2019 and we’re all savvy with technology and so are their loved ones. Families will feel safer overall having things like that in place.”
Looking into the future of senior living, the professionals said eco-friendly practices and technology will continue to play a role.
“Eco-friendly living is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, whether you’re in senior living or otherwise,” Newbrough noted. “People want to know that we’re doing our part to try and preserve this wonderful planet. If you’re not focused on that, people will think you’re not a community partner. In the future, this will be a must-have practice.”
Ferriell added, “We’re in senior living for the long haul and have been doing this for almost 100 years. And we’re going to be doing it on the same planet, so our impact needs to be mindful. When you embrace technology and respect environmental practices, it’s better for everyone. It’s an investment for the future.”
Catherine said, “It plays a role in patient-centered care. It’s the main focus here, and at many other facilities. You’re focusing on the patient and with technology, it’s much easier to communicate their family and care team. If this is something patients care about, and it will be as we move into the future, it’s important to consider it.”