Personal Tech: Resident-Centric Goes Digital

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In an industry where caring is at the core of all success, it’s easy to sound just like the other guys. You know the drill, phrases like “resident-centric, caring, committed to excellence, etc.” Unfortunately, that generic kind of message makes it hard to stand out in a field of competitors and demonstrate any real, specific advantages to seniors and their adult children.

Further, failing to break through with a “special value” in your market usually means that prospects often select low price as the determining factor. So unless you’re the low-cost leader in your area, you’re liable to lose the sale.

It may just be time to “tech up” your brand. Let me explain.

As a marketing and PR expert, I always look for ways to make our clients stand out and win on their authentic and unique value proposition—their brand. So when a panel of technology experts started talking about technology at the recent Senior Housing News Summit in Dallas, I was all ears.

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Staying connected with family and friends has major benefits, modern technology makes it is easier and more accessible than ever before.

Ever the closet journalist, I posed the question to the panel about how technology can bring about market differentiation for a senior community and higher value to the prospect. I wasn’t disappointed.

Their answer was that there are two main avenues for levering your technology spend as a market driver. The first avenue isn’t any surprise. It’s technology that delivers a richer connection between the resident and their family. This can include social media, Skype, blogging, webcams and more. Senior communities should not only provide these channels but also provide some serious orientation on getting the most out of them.

The second avenue was not so obvious—shaping technology in customized ways to deliver a very personalized technology-enhanced experience. They gave the example of a former Korean helicopter pilot, now a resident, who suffered a stroke which left his right side paralyzed. His struggles with this sudden disability left him feeling worthless and unchallenged as a human being. He was becoming dangerously withdrawn and apathetic as traditional methods of counseling and encouragement didn’t seem to connect. The thrill of life for this formerly intense veteran pilot was simply gone.

In a burst of creativity, the staff came up with a brilliant technology solution. They provided him with a helicopter flight simulator that once again engaged his senses and vital passion:  flying a helicopter. He was drawn to reconnect with his life passion and able to recover his zest for living. And he could do it with his one good arm.

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Modern technological amenities, like a computer flight simulator, can spark – or, in this case reignite the spark – and get a resident really passionate about life again.

But it gets even better.

Now, that same formerly withdrawn veteran is teaching other residents how to “fly a helicopter” using that flight simulator—and his expertise. He’s become very proactive and engaged as a resident—all because of some thoughtful technology that delivered a high-touch solution. As an added benefit, his fellow residents discovered an exciting new hobby and a fun setting for building relationships.

This is just one example of how creativity and caring can transform impersonal technology into highly personal care—that’s resident centric indeed. The panel also shared other ways technology can set your community apart is through improved security—not only in regard to personal safety but also in guarding their personal health records, an area that has now become a high-profit margin, hacking opportunity.

Of course, the major advances in resident monitoring are also recognized as a clear benefit to residents that can find its way into your sales and marketing materials. But as a senior living provider who cares about personal solutions, don’t forget to forge a technology solution just as personal.

The possibilities are as boundless as the individuality of your residents.

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