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BLOG | September 23

Addressing and Combating the Senior Living “Wi-Fi Crisis”

With close to 2% of the population occupying senior living communities and more seniors being interested in using technology in their daily lives, access to reliable Wi-Fi in senior living communities is more important than ever. Retirement community residents expect their senior living community to offer dependable Wi-Fi connectivity in the same way they expect their community to provide necessities like air conditioning and power. While Wi-Fi is used by senior living community residents for telehealth appointments, to connect with their loved ones, to surf the web and to connect smart devices, senior living care staff rely on reliable broadband connectivity to retrieve and update patients’ electronic medical records (EMR), to continuously track patients’ health using wearables and smart devices and more.

Senior Living Communities Must Modernize their Technology to Meet Increased Technology Use

While the pandemic caused an unexpected shift in increased technology usage for everyone especially senior living communities, the communities who haven’t modernized their Wi-Fi infrastructure have been left looking for answers. They are trying to figure out how they can eliminate poor internet reception, which may not allow staff and residents to connect to Wi-Fi at all or result in lengthy buffering times and decreased operational efficiency for senior care facilities. Based on our experience, and according to Senior Housing News, the most pressing technology infrastructure challenges facing senior living organizations that is hindering their ability to implement new technology is physical infrastructure of the building, cost, and poor Wi-Fi. These items are all interconnected.

While senior living community operators are responsible for making sure their communities provide dependable connectivity for all residents and staff, there are 6 important considerations they need to remember when searching for a solution:

  1. Understanding the Needs of Your Community: First, it’s necessary to meet with both your community’s residents and staff to determine how both groups are utilizing connectivity. After meeting with them, you’ll want to prioritize the information you collected from them.
  2. Wireless Use Case: Since more senior living community residents are relying on technology than ever before, such as wearables, falls management, smart homes and monitoring, it’s essential your community has wall-to-wall access points so residents can stay connected to the Wi-Fi. Residents also expect to be able to access wireless in all areas of their apartments for voice, streaming and more.
  3. Upgrading Your Community’s Infrastructure: Next, you’ll want to determine your community’s current Wi-Fi status. If the Wi-Fi is outdated or inadequate, you will want to consult with a technology expert to learn what must be replaced to upgrade your network. This should include a predictive design and may also include investing in upgrades to enhance your bandwidth.
  4. Prioritize Security: Next, since increasing your connectivity increases your community’s risk  of cyber threats, it’s vital to consult with an IT expert about whether your community should implement firewalls, set up secure passwords, and educate residents and staff on safe internet practices.
  5. Provide Technical Support: Once your wall-to-wall Wi-Fi is set up, your community will want to consult with a technology expert or have an IT expert on-site so the expert can help maximize the best ways your upgraded Wi-Fi network can be used. Add even more value to your community by offering Resident Technology Support, which educates your community’s residents on safe ways to use the internet.
  6. Prepare for the Future: Lastly, since potential residents are looking to join “smart” communities that offer enough Wi-Fi connectivity to power their wearables and all of their streaming devices, offer fall prevention solutions, utilize robotics, and provide active monitoring systems, make sure your senior living community is prepared for the future to avoid mediocre occupancy.

By following these 6 important considerations your senior living community can dodge the “Wi-Fi crisis” and continue to welcome new residents, who value a senior living experience that offers widespread connectivity. To ensure your senior living community operates as securely and efficiently as possible, we offer senior living communities a custom-built Strategic Technology Assessment and 3-Year Strategic Technology Roadmap, and we also provide Resident Technology Support services. Contact our technology experts to learn more today!

About the Author

Kati Jones

Director of Client Relationships