Raising Tech is your guide to understanding the role technology plays in your community, where to invest to transform culture, and how to bring your team and residents along the journey. Tune in for tech trends, hot topics and meet the people behind the tech landscape in senior living to gain practical technology knowledge you can apply in your community today.
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Welcome back to Raising Tech , a podcast about all things technology and senior living. I'm your host, Patrick Leonard, and today we're gonna talk about a solution that we've mentioned and talked about before on the show, but it's been quite a while. It's becoming more and more commonplace in senior living over the last couple years. And that topic is virtual reality. So virtual reality, as I mentioned, has become more and more utilized these days and there are also a lot more and more use cases for this technology as well than what people might traditionally think of. So with that, I'm excited to introduce our listeners today to Dr . Ellie Giles , Founder and CEO of Virtual Apprentice. Dr. Giles, welcome to the show.Dr. Ellie Giles:
Well thank you for having me. I'm excited to talk about virtual reality and senior wellness.Patrick Leonard:
Awesome, thanks. We're happy you're here. So to kind of kick things off, Ellie , do you mind telling our listeners a little bit about your background and yourself and why you founded Virtual Apprentice?Dr. Ellie Giles:
Sure, I'm happy to do that. So, I started off for 30, over 30 years as an educator teaching special education and working as a school administrator. I moved on as I became an empty nester onto new horizons, not because I didn't love teaching, but because I think it's always important to challenge yourself. So I moved on to economic development within our county and help build up a new entity within our county for economic development. And through that became totally excited about workforce development. The county named me as one of the first CEOs of that program. It's the largest workforce development entity in our state. So I got to really understand career pathways, good ways of getting individuals into jobs and sustaining jobs and what were the barriers for jobs. And I became a little frustrated because I wanted to get people into jobs quickly and found that using technology was the way to go, and particularly virtual reality because virtual reality really can create that workplace environment without having risks and can become competency based . I put out a proposal to my board and to the county council. They were not as willing to adopt virtual reality as quickly as I was, but I could not let the concept go. And so I started my own business and I have had some real success within the training, bringing all of my background together to do that. During the pandemic, nobody wanted to put goggles on their face, as you can just understand. And so it gave me an opportunity to take a look at virtual reality and what capabilities are for other areas, especially looking at social good. And one of the things that we looked at was senior isolation. We were all feeling isolated. And my mom motivated me a little as she was very isolated, being in Florida and I'm being in Maryland. And so I started to look at how I could use virtual reality to support seniors.Patrick Leonard:
I love it. Thanks for that background and it is such an interesting background because I think a lot of people, when they think of virtual reality in a sense, think of, I don't know, maybe the gaming world or the experiential world, which is obviously a piece of what you're talking about here, but approaching it from an educational background I think is really, really interesting, particularly with its use case, you know, with staff and in the education sector itself, but also in senior living, the potential to to train staff on certain items. So can you dive into those different solutions and a little bit more as far as what you're seeing are the biggest impact in the solutions that you offer, and particularly how some of those relate most readily to senior living communities?Dr. Ellie Giles:
Absolutely. So I'm really glad you asked that question because it gives me opportunity to do some myth busting. Virtual reality was developed for gaming and for entertainment and it's truly marketed that way. And so it is not really getting the experiences that it can get and the capabilities it can. Virtual reality is just what it says, it is a simulation of reality, but it is totally immersive. It creates such a sense of presence that it improves retention by 90%. People go back and do the training again, we have huge competency development. It mitigates risk. If you're doing any kind of development training that has any kind of risks to it like a construction site or working in electricity, you're, you can learn without having that risk involved. And the other nice thing is it is saves a lot of money with consumables because you're not now utilizing all kinds of consumable equipment while you're learning, it's all virtual 3D assets, but you can manipulate it, you can practice with it over and over again and you can create all kinds of learning opportunities. Adults love to learn by doing. Adults love to learn within the context of their learning. Virtual reality provides all of that. So it's not just for gaming, it's not just for kids. In fact, I always tell everybody virtual reality, get out of the game and that instead <laugh> so that instead of gaming it, let's play. Let's get in there and really use the attributes that it has.Patrick Leonard:
That's great. Yeah, thank you for that. And I got to experience it firsthand at conference LeadingAge Maryland a couple weeks ago, able to try them on and I was in a shark tank, with some sharks <laugh>, and it was quite a crazy experience, but there was multiple different modules I could select. And I imagine that's just again, a small piece of what you all offer. Can you tell me a little bit more about the experiences that you are offering, sort of templated kind of out-of-the-box solutions that you provide and programming for your clients and how do you balance that with any potential? I don't know if there's custom programs that you all offer as well. Tell me a little bit about like kind of the experience development and how clients engage with that.Dr. Ellie Giles:
Great. So what we did after I had met with my mom and my, I grew up on the bay boating, when I talked with my mom, we used to share memories of that. So creating that was one of my first experiences was being back down on the water with the boats hearing and letting her be able to sit in her home. She's not very mobile anymore, but be on the water again, which gave her such pleasure. So that really was how it started. Then I hooked that idea and was accepted into a tech collaborative through Johns Hopkins and NIA to continue to build out that platform. And one of the , the whole mission was to mitigate loneliness, create environments, create experiences where seniors could then have spontaneous conversations about their shared experiences. So that is really my goal. We keep the experiences fairly short because the outcome is conversation and interaction not being in the goggles. So knowing that is what we're moving for , we've created experiences that are senior friendly. So you know, first I should say there's two components when you develop VR. One is the user's experience and the other is the content that we actually do. So we really wanted to focus in on both senior friendly user experience and a senior friendly content. So everything we build, we build on our own, we do all our own filming. And so to answer your question, we do have some that are already there that we can keep adding to, but we're also free using our own 360 photographer and our own editor to create whatever customized programs are needed. I wanna just go into a little detail about what I mean when I say senior friendly, if that's alright. So first thing we did, and again, I'm , this is all being guided by the, the geriatric program in Johns Hopkins. So we really work very closely with the experts in the field to understand where some of the challenges would be using VR with seniors. So technology as a whole tends to be a challenge for seniors. If you've got a lot of controllers or novel experiences, it takes the fun out of it. Like anything, when you have a long learning curve, it takes the fun out of it. So we wanted to avoid that. Everything we have in the goggles is eye-gaze activated , so there's no need for controllers. You literally put it on, there's a screen to select kinds of experiences you wanna do and then you can just look at it and activate it. We avoid the need for internet because we download it directly into the headset. So it has its own little processor and we slow down the refresh rate because the goggles are developed for gaming. So it refreshes very quickly. We slowed it down so it doesn't refresh quickly and it eliminates any kind of dizziness or balance because there's not as much going on. We then started to look at what was content that was out there and you can have, you know, YouTube videos or some 360 videos that are already out in the universe, but they are way too fast. They tend to be shot like from a drone. So you're looking down, going down a waterfall, going around a corner. And so they weren't real senior friendly and that was the reason why we decided to move to develop our own content. Our original content was digital and we now are doing all real filming. We've, we've gone down toward D. C. And Baltimore, we have tour guides and there's more interaction, human interaction, which is something that we've found that the seniors are appreciating more and having to see people while they're there, not just things, all of our experiences, the longest experience is five minutes because we don't want, again, you to be looking at it like TV, you wanna be in there, you wanna look around, enjoy the experience, take off the goggles and talk about it, interact with others. So we've really tried to keep our experiences engaging but fairly short.Patrick Leonard:
That's awesome! So that's the first time I've really heard virtual reality described in that way and I think it's really impactful. I can see a lot of potential pushback for people who aren't as familiar, thinking, well I don't want my loved one just sitting with a VR headset all day and just being consumed like a another device, you know, or tablet or tv. So it's really cool to hear that they are purposefully and thoughtfully built into these bite size type of experiences so you can take it off and have that conversation. So it's really interesting to me. Can you tell me what have you seen as far as in the communities, how people are putting that to practice? Are they working with life enrichment or activities coordinators? These are kind of group activities and experiences where they go through something together and chat about it or does it just depend on the situation, maybe individual family members in the rooms with the resident or they'll take turns and then talking about it? Or what have you kind of seen from your end of how this is actually practically used in that way?Dr. Ellie Giles:
So all of the above. We mostly are serving senior centers or whether it's residential or day programs. And one of the things that we provide with every experience are facilitation guides. My background in counseling, I can bring out some facilitation guides. So even if they had the experience, just things that start facilitating conversation if needed. I have to tell you, 90% of the time we just get unbelievably incredible spontaneous language. It's new, it's fun, it brings back memories. And so we tend not to need the facilitation guide, but we do provide that for individuals. I also wanted to let you know that one of the things we're doing within our study is we're really taking a look at level of engagement and spontaneous language. So as right now we're really collecting a lot of research in the goggles. We are able to track eye gaze and we are with a heat map technology, being able to watch where the eyes are. Are you really enjoying the 360 of this environment? Are you looking straight ahead like watching tv? And then we're comparing those that are higher engagement and the spontaneous language to really verify does virtual reality really increase social engagement and mitigate loneliness? And what is the variables that are gonna have individuals really take place and engage in the 360 environment. And that's really some of the data we're collecting right now.Patrick Leonard:
Thanks for that. And so another thing I love , um, you use the term MythBusters, you're busting some myths related to virtual reality now, which is super helpful in educational for us. And part of the purpose of having these types of discussions with our listeners is to kind of understand those kind of burning questions for people who aren't as familiar with, in this case, virtual reality and can kind of answer some of the questions for. So another item that I thought about was, again, people are starting to be very, you know, there's more and more studies coming out. People are always very hypersensitive of screen time. They're hypersensitive about how much time they're spending on their phones, looking at the computer screen during the day, looking at the TV set during night. So this just reminds me know , again, it's broadest term of another screen. So for those out here thinking well what is the impact on my eyes or just adding to another screen time, can you talk a little bit about the applications or protective measures taken into the development of the technology in the VR headset to kind of mitigate any of those potential risks or problems?Dr. Ellie Giles:
So going into VR, the context of it being screen time , I'm gonna do a little pushback on , because I think it's not really screen time. You are having an experience, you're going someplace with that. Your mobility or social setting or whatever barriers are there prevent you from doing so. If you wanna go to Hawaii, you just can't go, you get to go to Hawaii when you wear those goggles or if you wanna look at art or you wanna listen to classical music that brings back memories or even see pictures of family, all of those things can happen within VR. So we're not really looking at it as a screen time issue because you're going places virtually, but you're experiencing it, you're getting a visceral response from it. It's visual, it's motion, you have a gyroscope in there so when you turn your head the environment moves with you. There's really a very strong sense of presence while you're there.Patrick Leonard:
I love that. Yeah, I , I experienced it myself. I put on , I was amazed at how just any head movement in any direction, it was just a continuation of a 360 view. There was no lag time, there was no confusion. You really felt fully immersed in the experience itself. So I love that, again, busting another myth as it relates around screen time, because it really wasn't. So I want just raise that up as kind of a question cause I'm sure again people who aren't as familiar might might be thinking that. So thanks for kind of clarifying and talking through that a little bit more.Dr. Ellie Giles:
And screen time is passive, this is active.Patrick Leonard:
You know, I think how far VR has come just in the last couple years alone and everything that has happened in this space and I'm constantly learning new things about it and you've educated so much today. But from your perspective, you know, where is VR and I guess it's kind of lifecycle of its potential. We've come so far so quickly it feels like, to me at least, I'm sure you have different perspective, but is there still a lot left there as far as innovation goes? Are there things that we should be expecting to see just from virtual reality in general or your solution alone over the next year, two years, five years, whatever it may be down the road? What's kind of on the horizon as it relates to VR and your solution in particular?Dr. Ellie Giles:
So I started my business March of 2020 just because Covid was getting off the ground and the growth in this industry in just those two, three years has been, I mean, overwhelming. I need to always stay within the networks and the institutions and the research because it changes so quickly. Just like when the computers first enter the world, first emphasis has right now been on the hardware, finding hardware that's robust enough, that's cost effective , that's untethered because you've got lots of hardware now that's hooks up to computers. That's not gonna be an effective tool, especially for seniors. We've gotta find the headsets that work independent and get to that right price point. So Google, HP and a company out of China called Pinko , that company who owns TikTok as makes these headsets, there's Apple who's come out with it there . You know, all of the industries are really fighting right now to come up with the biggest that is hardware, not so much in content. So the content piece is just emerging now, but I really do see the combination of using VR where you're in the experience and then AR, where it's augmented community where you can bring up maps or what you might be looking at as a guide as part of the future of this, where you will be in your virtual environment but be able to be looking at an actual blueprint or an actual schematic or another scene. If you are looking for seniors and they want to navigate a hospital, you might be able to see the floor plan of the hospital while you're really walking it. So those kinds of things that better bring reality and virtual reality together I see is really where the future's gonna be. I just recently was contacted by a new senior center and that's exactly what we're doing for them is we are creating the senior centers under construction. They are looking to rent their housing, but the seniors can't visualize it by looking at a floor plan . So we've created now 3D floor plans where they can walk in and then visualize their for own furniture in there and see what kind of countertops may I weigh . We can switch it real quickly and they can really get a sense of the living space before purchasing it.Patrick Leonard:
Wow, that's amazing. It's hard to imagine, you know, it's something you see out of the movies almost these days, but it's here, it's happening and it's really cool to look forward to those type of things, knowing that it's available through solutions like you and companies like you who are just on the cutting edge of this type of technology to really bring some of this excitement and innovation to the industry. It's really, really awesome to hear. I really appreciate you sharing all that with us. Before we wrap up, are there any final thoughts or anything that you're dying to let the listeners know as it relates to virtual reality or in particular Virtual Apprentice before we sign off today?Dr. Ellie Giles:
I think that the most important point that I really, really wanna get across as we talk about my solution or anyone else's solution is how important it is to address loneliness in seniors. I mean, just recently the Surgeon General talked about that being such a major health risk and the more we've moved with social media and people are not having as much face-to-face time as they used to. The health concerns of loneliness is just so severe that anything we can do to mitigate that and that it just elongates life, it voids depression, it helps with all kinds of other health issues, both physical and emotional. And so what motivates me with this tool is not the technology but the outcome, the social good that it will provide.Patrick Leonard:
That's awesome! That's a great way to sum it up . Dr . Giles, thank you again so much for the conversation today! I personally learned a bunch , I know our listeners will as well. So thanks for taking some time to have the conversation and to educate everyone that'll be listening to this episode.Dr. Ellie Giles:
Thank you, I appreciate it. And feel free to visit our website, www.VirtualApprentice.net.Patrick Leonard:
Absolutely! Listeners, thanks so much for tuning in for another great episode of Raising Tech. I know you probably picked up some awesome and valuable information today, like I did. If there's any other topics you want to hear about or you have a comment on the episode or want to be on an episode yourself, please feel free to reach out on our website at www.ParasolAlliance.com, and have a good one!
In this episode of Raising Tech, our host, Patrick Leonard, has an informative conversation with Dr. Ellie Giles, Founder and CEO of Virtual Apprentice, about how Virtual Apprentice's virtual reality solutions are being utilized to improve education and social engagement in Senior Living communities.
Discover the ways Virtual Apprentice's VR systems are mitigating loneliness and enhancing emotional engagement for Senior Living residents.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
Amber Bardon (00:05):
Welcome to Raising Tech podcast. I'm your host Amber Bardon, and today our guest is Teryn Waldenberg from Immanuel Lutheran Communities in Kalispell, Montana. Welcome to the show, Teryn.
Teryn Waldenberg (00:15):
Hi, thank you.
Amber Bardon (00:17):
Great to see you today! I'm so excited for you to join the podcast episode and talk a little bit about your technology journey. To start us off, can you tell our audience who you are, what you do, what's your role?
Teryn Waldenberg (00:29):
Sure. So I'm Teryn Waldenberg, I am the CFO at Immanuel Lutheran Communities. We are a life plan community, single site non-profit in Montana. We have 123 skilled beds, that includes rehab, long-term and memory care. And then we've got 106 independent living and assisted living apartments, 40 entry fee apartments and then 24 more memory care beds. So we're a good size, I would say
Amber Bardon (00:58):
Teryn, One of the facts that I love to tell our clients about ILC is that there's only two CCRCs in the whole state of Montana, so you are in a pretty unique position. I know that ILC has some plans to grow, but as far as what you can offer the community in the area that that you're in, I think it's really unique and it's really been a pleasure getting to know you and getting to know your community. And of course I love coming on site to Montana, my favorite place to visit out of all of our client sites.
Teryn Waldenberg (01:21):
Yeah, it's pretty great here. We like people to come visit us too. And it's also pretty nice that there's only two of us in the state of Montana and the other one is approximately eight hours away.
Amber Bardon (01:33):
Yeah, so you're definitely in a unique position. Teryn, you like many of our clients are the CFO and you are overseeing technology which is very common for technology to fall under the CFO role. So to start off with, can you give us some insights on how do you balance your role with technology and being the CFO? How does that play out for you?
Teryn Waldenberg (01:52):
Well, I was pretty lucky in that when I started it did not report to me and so I was really able to kind of stabilize my finance team and my staff. And we are at a point where I've got an amazing team that can pretty much run with the day-to-day operations of you know, payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable accounting. And that allows me to kind of step away and focus my attention elsewhere. Also, our new early learning center reports to me, same thing, we hired an amazing team lead there, our director, she's able to really run with it. And so while yes it does to take some of my time away, I have the ability to be able to kind of not be so immersed in all of that. And then the same thing now with having Parasol as a partner of ours in it. I don't have to be in the weeds nearly as much as I probably would have. So I feel like I've got a really, really, really great team of people who help so that we can all function at our highest level.
Amber Bardon (02:52):
Thank you for that insight. Teryn, can you share what are some of the biggest challenges from a technology standpoint that are facing ILC both in terms of let's talk about the employee side first and then let's talk about residents next?
Teryn Waldenberg (03:06):
Sure. So I would say that we would hear issues with just basic functionalities. People not able to fax or print or just standard parts of their job. You know, the phones weren't working or whatever it might be. We had a strategic assessment done by Parasol and that is largely what the employees were saying was we just need our basic functionalities during the day to work for us. And you know, that's an ongoing challenge, but something that we're really focused on kind of cleaning up our infrastructure so that we can address those the right way instead of just band-aiding issues as they come up.
Amber Bardon (03:40):
And what specifically have you seen? Is there any examples you can give us of specific challenges?
Teryn Waldenberg (03:46):
Specific challenges would be phones, you know, voicemail not working or faxing, printing, doors not working properly. There's any number of issues that are just kind of impede the employee's abilities to just do their job in an efficient manner. And um, sometimes it's MatrixCare not working properly or they can't use the link that's on their desktop or any number of just standard issues.
Amber Bardon (04:10):
Yeah, and you're not the only community that we've been working with that we've come in and there's just a lot of struggles and challenges with, you know, as you said, this basic day-to-day technology use. And it's really frustrating for staff when their logins don't work, when their internet doesn't work, when their passwords don't work, printing doesn't work and you know, it's a lot of time spent to correct those issues and it can be a little bit of a challenge because those are not immediate wins, they're not quick fixes and a lot of times those things have to be done and that infrastructure and and base level has to be built out before we can get to some of the more exciting projects such as switching out your business systems or doing cool things like robotics and AI and things like that. But it is a process to work through that and I think little by little you can start to gain some of that trust and partnership with technology as those things start to get resolved over time.
Teryn Waldenberg (04:58):
Yeah, It's nice to know that we've got a partner alongside us who's gonna help us to get where we need to be and is already doing so.
Amber Bardon (05:04):
And on the resident side, what are you seeing as challenges that they're experiencing?
Teryn Waldenberg (05:09):
Wi-Fi access, the ability to stream all the things that they want in their apartments. It's pretty much what we see. We also have fall prevention technology that we want to use, but we don't have the bandwidth to do it. So that's definitely the biggie.
Amber Bardon (05:21):
Yeah, and I'm glad you brought up Wi-Fi. I actually am hoping to do some presentations at some state conferences on this topic because I personally feel there's a Wi-Fi crisis coming that every community is dealing with this problem of how do we put in comprehensive wall-to-wall Wi-Fi to support all this great new exciting technology that's coming out. But it's very expensive and I think the industry as a whole is going to have to figure out how to solve this challenge, and ILC is definitely no exception and we're working on a Wi-Fi design right now, but the costs of that are gonna be pretty high as you and I have discussed.
Teryn Waldenberg (05:51):
Absolutely, yeah, we're seeing a lot of these major infrastructure cleanup projects that we, we have are costly, so we're having to kind of prioritize and spread them out
Amber Bardon (06:00):
When there's so many different competing priorities for technology, so specifically I know at ILC there's been a lot of the infrastructure pieces that we've talked about. We also wanna replace most of the business systems that you have and a lot of times people really wanna jump to the things that they will see that immediate impact and not take the time to fix some of those backend things. From your perspective, how do you best approach prioritization and building a plan on how to execute all this different technology?
Teryn Waldenberg (06:28):
Absolutely. We don't know what we don't know until we didn't know what we didn't know and we realized that, so that's why we had Parasol come in and do the strategic assessment for us to kind of say, "Hey, here's what you need to look at." We've got all the bells and whistles and we were on all the demos of the things that we can easily implement that people will see, but we knew we needed to focus on the backend. And really we've counted on Parasol to kind of guide us through that, and I think that as a team or as an organization, we are all on board with, "hey, we want our basic systems to work" and in order to do that we need to back up and clean some of these background projects up," I guess.
Amber Bardon (07:06):
What is your advice on explaining how the prioritization works to the rest of the stakeholders if they feel impatient with the pace on which things are moving forward?
Teryn Waldenberg (07:16):
Really just got a lot of catch up and clean up to do. We're fixing a lot of the issues that we were previously banding we're getting down to the root cause and fixing that. And that's really been all that we need to say. I think that there were enough frustrations and headaches that people understand that that is a priority and needs to be.
Amber Bardon (07:33):
Yeah, that makes sense and it is really great once we can start getting some of those wins in and start to see the immediate impact on people's day-to-day. Yeah. Speaking of that, are there any success stories that you've had that you can share when it comes to technology?
Teryn Waldenberg (07:46):
Sure. So as I said, you know, some of this basic infrastructure, it's not the bells and whistles and the the fun stuff that the employees see or feel or they know that they see or feel. But a few of them that come to mind are first and foremost my favorite is the budget. I could not wrap my brain around what was being presented to me as a budget and what I needed to budget. And if we were double-paying things, I just, it was messy. So getting the budget under control and understanding what's in it and why and cleaning all that up has been a huge win, both just for my stress level but also for our financials. And that's been very helpful. We also completed the server refresh, which was needed. Again, not something that anyone really noticed or could see, but a central part of all of our technology working. And then we also finished the policies and procedures and forms and are almost done with our security project, which are also very important, again, non-sexy items but crucial to our IT environment functioning properly.
Amber Bardon (08:46):
Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's worth noting that when we started working with you, all of your IT equipment was all beyond end of life. So it definitely probably helps you sleep a little bit better at night knowing that some of that's been updated and refreshed and there's less chances and less risk of things going down.
Teryn Waldenberg (09:01):
Absolutely. I sleep much better at night just knowing that Parasol is here.
Amber Bardon (09:05):
What can you tell me is next? What are some exciting projects that are on the horizon for ILC with technology?
Teryn Waldenberg (09:11):
Well, like I said, I don't know if it's exciting to many people, but for me it is, and I'm sure for you Amber and your team it's just kind of getting that basic infrastructure cleaned up and up to date and Wi-Fi in place so that our residents can, you know, stream whatever videos they want to and really just getting us into a good spot. Like I said, we watch demos and we see all of the fun bells and whistles. If we don't have the technology in place for them, we can't implement them properly. So getting us there is really our next big step.
Amber Bardon (09:45):
Can I also mention the EMR transition that you're undergoing? Because that's pretty exciting.
Teryn Waldenberg (09:49):
We are transitioning our clinical business from MatrixCare to PointClickCare, which our clinical team is ecstatic about and I think the Parasol team is pretty happy about that as well.
Amber Bardon (10:01):
Yeah, definitely. That's always a fun project to do and it's so much work, but I've never had any client who regrets it. The only thing they say is we wish we would've done it sooner. So it's really exciting to be able to have a system in place coming soon that's gonna have so much more advanced technology and clinical decision making and the ability to support data-driven decisions. So definitely looking forward to that.
Teryn Waldenberg (10:21):
Absolutely, and I will say that I have been through a major conversion and I was terrified about the thought of transitioning and still am a little bit, but I sleep much better at night knowing that you have done so many of these and that we have you guys kind of guiding us through the process so that we're not gonna drop any major balls and I think it's gonna be a smooth transition.
Amber Bardon (10:43):
Teryn, I know we've talked a lot about, you know, the basic infrastructure and some of the projects we're going through with business systems. Is there anything that you can share that is sort of like a, an innovation, a future vision, anything that's maybe come from Jason, your CEO that you think is maybe down the road with ILC?
Teryn Waldenberg (10:59):
Our leadership team is always looking at new technologies and trying to see how we can improve. And especially with shortages of human bodies to work in the industry. We're looking at robots for example, trying to figure out how we can reduce our dependency on staffing and so fall prevention technologies, AI, smart home technologies, all kinds of fun things. So I think we probably sit in on one to two demos a week, I think, <laugh> technology demos.
Amber Bardon (11:30):
Teryn, is there anything that you would like to share with our listeners that would be like lessons learned or what you wish you would've known? You know, in hindsight with around technology in general,
Teryn Waldenberg (11:40):
Like I said, we did not know what we didn't know and hiring somebody who really felt focused on the partnership of we wanna walk alongside you in your IT journey and we are going to help you get to where you need to be, we want to see your end goal and we'll tell you how to get there has been a huge game changer for us, not somebody who is just kind of our help desk and walking us through fixing some of these issues or band-aiding them. IT is a huge deal and we needed to be focusing on it as such. And so I would say if you don't have a really solid team, team effort for sure, and a good focus on your IT and your infrastructure, it's something that you should start paying attention to.
Amber Bardon (12:27):
Thank you for those words of advice, Teryn. If our listeners wanna know more about ILC, where can they find more about your community?
Teryn Waldenberg (12:34):
Our website is www.ilcorp.org. We are on Instagram, we're on Facebook and we recently hired a new director of marketing, so I'm sure we'll be all over the place before we know it.
Amber Bardon (12:46):
Thank you and thank you for your time today, Teryn!
Teryn Waldenberg (12:48):
Thank you for having me!
Amber Bardon (12:49):
Listeners, if you would like to give us feedback on this episode, if you have an idea or a topic or a partner you'd like to submit for a future episode, you can find us on our website at www.ParasolAlliance.com. Thank you for listening!
In this episode of Raising Tech, our host, Amber Bardon, has a noteworthy conversation with Teryn Waldenberg, Chief Financial Officer at Immanuel Lutheran Communities in Kalispell, Montana, about how prioritizing technology future-proofed their Senior Living community.
Discover more about the technology solutions Immanuel Lutheran Communities utilizes and the benefits their residents and staff gained through ILC's IT partnership with Parasol Alliance.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
Welcome back to Raising Tech, a podcast about all things technology and senior living today. I'm your host Patrick Leonard and we're going to talk about a very familiar topic at issue and senior living today, which is wellness monitoring in Senior Living communities. However, we're learning about a very unique solution today that I'm really excited to educate you all on or rather have our guest educate you all on and I personally just learned about this in the last couple months. And so with that I'm excited to introduce our listeners to Vik Kashyap from Toi Labs to talk to us a little bit about this wellness monitoring idea and particularly about a product called TrueLoo. Welcome to the show, Vik.Vik Kashyap:
Hi. It's a pleasure to be here, Patrick. Thanks for having me!Patrick Leonard:
Absolutely. Before we really dive into this topic, Vik, I was really intrigued during our introductory conversation about your background and your experience. So if you don't mind, can you introduce yourself a little bit and tell our listeners a little bit about that?Vik Kashyap:
Sure. So I am an entrepreneur. I've been building companies mainly in the Silicon Valley area for more than 15 years. But in addition to doing that I also suffer from ulcerative colitis, which is a serious debilitating lower digestive disease, and it was through my experience in treating myself with my condition including developing a new treatment, I ended up publishing about that really got me set on focusing on developing the technology that has become TrueLoo. And I really discovered through that experience the importance of gut health, the importance of our waste and output as indicators to our health. And also turning this science fiction concept of a toilet as being a health monitoring system or device into reality.Patrick Leonard:
Thanks for that background. So can you tell us a little bit more specifically about Toi Labs and TrueLoo, which is, you know, what's commonly known out there on the marketplace? You know, personally when I first kind of Googled your company looked at your website, I was like, oh, it's a toilet seat. It's a smart toilet seat , but it's so much more than that in talking with you. So can you tell us a little bit more about kind of the founding story of it and you know, what problem you're really looking to go after here in this Senior Living space?Vik Kashyap:
Yeah, so Patrick, going into a little more detail, I actually developed a treatment for my ulcerative colitis that helped me not have to have my colon removed. And through the course of that treatment I tried many different things to try to understand how they would have an impact on my health. And what I found is that it's very, very important to understand what's going on with your output as an indicator of your general health and wellness. And so what I decided to do after publishing co-authoring a paper in Science Translational Medicine was to really try to figure out a way to make it cost effective , convenient and easy to capture your output information in a way that doesn't really change how you go about it in your day-to-day life. And so what I developed is a new type of toilet monitoring system that is comprised of a new replacement toilet seat that can be affixed onto any existing toilet in a matter of minutes. And what it's doing is that it's looking at the visual aspects of the stool and urine. These are characteristics that have been known for centuries, even millennia to be very valuable for human health. And if you look at Senior Living communities today and senior homes, they're tracking this information because they know it's so valuable. You know, if someone isn't going to the bathroom, if they are potentially bleeding or have other signs of issues that could be, you know, indicative of something more serious. It's very important to track that kind of information. But today, the way it's been done and being done prior to TrueLoo is that it requires someone to interpret, to actually see that excreta, interpret it in their own particular way (and then in a subjective way) and then record it usually manually into some type of a system. And given the importance of this kind of information, which arguably is, you know , as important if not more important than a lot of other types of vital signs that are being tracked today, what truly does is it helps to create an objective, accurate and timely understanding of someone's output patterns and when they're clinically concerning to be able to report on those. So, you know, for me it was very important to be able to do this because it's such a fundamental aspect of being a human is doing this every single day. Everybody does this yet today there's no way to get any insight or value from this activity that is being done. And so much in the same way that, you know, a lot of people may have been skeptical about wearables and the value, for example, of tracking steps or tracking heart rate. You when you take things that are being subjectively or manually done and you automate them and bring computerization to them. So that's when you begin to see a lot more power, you know, and so that's one of the things that was very important, you know , as we first developed the TrueLoo system.Patrick Leonard:
That's amazing. Sounds pretty complex, but also, you know, the concept is pretty simple to understand I think. But clearly there's a lot of complexities going on in the background. So talk to me a little bit about the perceptions of you know, an older adult or a Senior Living resident who may have this installed in the room. And then also on the flip side, having the conversations with the decision maker to install this. I mean it's such a, I don't wanna , you know, icky for lack of a better term, it could be a sensitive topic, you know, as a lot of things can in the caregiving in the Senior Living world because we get so intimate with our residents on a level learning about their health in , very different ways and servicing them and caring for them. And this is certainly one of those items that falls under that category. So can you just talk to me a little bit about perception from kind of both of those stakeholders in the utilization and implementation of something like this.Vik Kashyap:
Yeah, absolutely. You know, we've been in market with the TrueLoo service since 2021 and when we first came into the market, one of my biggest concerns was the perception and in particular the privacy considerations related to a technology like this. What it comes down to is really education. Because this is such a new technology, there sometimes some misperception about what it is the technology does and also there needs to be some awareness building about what the technology has the ability to do as well for someone's life. And so, you know, I think one of the things that's interesting about a product like this is that it is, as you mentioned in this area of kind of taboo or ick factor where people know it's very important. I mean, look, if you are living in a Senior Living facility, either as a resident or as a care staff member, you know the importance of tracking this information and it's something that is being done today. Now one of the things that I think we have been able to demonstrate is that by using something like this you can actually not have to have uncomfortable conversations and maintain the dignity of the person whose extra is already being monitored. And so today, for example, in the current practice, you have care staff that often ask residents about their stool and urine activity. They often are accompanying older resident and looking into the toilet bowl and then recording information about their excreta, and those things today are not comfortable, they're not dignified. And to be able to remove that and instead have a system that is 24/7 objectively and in a very private way analyzing this information in my private, you know , it's completely de-identified. It's not capturing any sensitive body parts, it's only looking downward into the bowl with its scanning technology. And then also on top of that, educating both care staff and residents about the fact that look, what is the implications of something like this? What are the benefits that you can get from it? That is really a critical part of the conversation because even though it's something that people may not want to talk about, the reality is if you have, for example, a very unusual pattern in your stool and urine, you know, that could be an early sign of something extremely serious. You know, we typically bucket the issues that the TrueLoo is able to, and to be clear, the TrueLoo is only identifying those abnormal waste patterns. It's not diagnosing any diseases. But if you're to look at the areas where waste, the visual analysis of waste is valuable, we generally bucket them into a few main areas. The first is around intake. Is someone taking off liquid? Are they taking the right kind of diet? You know, that's a fundamental human question and something that should be monitored on a daily basis. The second thing around infections, particularly in a communal living setting where things like gastroenteritis, norovirus, C. diff, other types of viral infections can spread, you know, is there something in the waste pattern that can be able to identify, you know, some signs and symptoms, you know, of these types of infectious diseases. The third is around cancers. And I think most people understand that many, many cancers including for example colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer are extremely deadly. And when you catch them late, these kinds of cancers can be fatal and often are. And the fourth is around trauma, which can be caused, you know, from a variety of different sources. But all of these types of potential issues, they often show up in the waste of an individual. And the ability to be able to automate the tracking of something that today is manually done day in, day out in these settings, really you know, has a significant impact not only on the life of the resident in terms of their ability to have an intervention that has the potential to change the course of a disease and their life, but also has a significant benefit to the care staff and the operators in that they no longer have to do this very unpleasant task and at the, and also reap the benefits of having a healthier, longer living, longer lifespan and healthspan type of resident .Patrick Leonard:
Thanks for that! Yeah, it's always amazing to me the different solutions that people like yourself and companies like Toi Labs are coming up with to address these really critical issues that everybody's kind of banding together to come up with a solution in their own way. But I feel like this is a really unique one that I personally never would've thought about. So I think it's really helpful to kind of shed some life on this today and I think our listeners will get a lot out of this. Can you talk to me a little bit more, you walked us through the use case and a little bit about the information that TrueLoo's gathering, what that's helping to prevent from a health perspective? But can you talk to me a little bit more specifically about what you touched on at the beginning of the actual technology that's powering this thing? How is it actually capturing reporting on these data points that you're mentioning in this automated manner ? Is it a proprietary technology that you came up with? Is it a combination of different of AI automation, you know what , what does that lookVik Kashyap:
Like? Yeah , this is just something that is near and dear to my heart as I am the inventor of this. The technology that's being used is patented. We have have multiple patents that cover the system and what it's doing is that it is capturing using a technology called computer vision or machine vision, detailed information, visual information about what goes into the toilet bowl . And it's doing it at a resolution and in a manner that far exceeds that of the human eye and mind. And we've reached a point in the technology adoption curve where certain types of sensors have come down to a lower cost that allows us to use primarily software to be able to interpret what the sensors are doing in a way that is very valuable and that improves over time. So if you look at a lot of what our technology is doing is it's taking this information that's very granular, it's very targeted and it is analyzing it for essentially biometric or physiological value. And so the challenge associated with this technology is not just technical, it's actually mapping a lot of what the software is doing to the actual underlying conditions of the individual in order for it to provide predictive value. Right now the product, and I wanna be very clear about it, it is not a medical device. We're not claiming that it's going to be diagnosing, treating or preventing any specific diseases. What it is doing however, is that it's identifying when there is an abnormal pattern of the output that requires further investigation and that we have very high level of confidence that requires further investigation. And the way we do that is we actually have board certified physician on our team that establish guidelines that the machine which is constantly improving uses to be able to report on when there are these abnormal issues that require an intervention. In many ways we're doing something that today is already being done or should be done manually, subjectively, sporadically. And we're making sure that it's done completely accurately and timely through a system like this. And I think what's really exciting about this technology is that it's designed in many ways to be forgotten. So unlike many things that require you to recharge or to change your behavior in order to use or remember to use, this is a product that is literally designed to fade into the background. It's not meant to be thought of when a user is using it. It's not meant to be interacted with, it's meant to just fit into the day-to-day life that you already live . And I think that's one of, if not the most unique aspect to this. And we have spent years and millions of dollars designing this product and and service and if there's one key kind of ethos or philosophy that we have when we have built this is that it really doesn't require anything on the part of the user. They ought to be able to get value from it from doing nothing extra. And we try to be very, very ruthless about drawing lines that ensure that this kind of ethos remains. And this to me is the difference between what I see as kind of some of the first generation of products perhaps that was seen in the Senior Living space and what I think the next generation of products are going to be. And particularly if you're dealing with an older adult population, you know, these kind of considerations are paramount and I think that as we've developed the technology that's been kind of a guiding principle for us.Patrick Leonard:
Thank you for that. So another question popped up as you were kind of talking through that from the caregiver or the Senior Living operator side, how are they monitoring this on a daily basis? I mean it certainly sounds way better as you mentioned, and more effective, less invasive than the manual process that's being done today. But with this implemented, what does it look like to monitor? Are there alerts to integrated with other health monitoring electronic medical systems? What does that look like from an ongoing basis and a daily basis and a practical use case?Vik Kashyap:
So going back again to the guiding principles and the philosophy that we espouse, the reports themselves are only produced on an exception basis. Unlike other types of products in this that serve this population, which often provide data that has to be interpreted. What we do is we actually have a clinical team that reviews all of the data that's being analyzed and captured by the TrueLoo system. And we only report on issues where we've identified abnormal patterns that cross a meaningful clinical threshold. And this is a very important point because as we've spent time with our customers, if there's one thing we have found is that they do not need another dashboard or more data to analyze, that's the last thing they need. What they need are ways to help them improve the human care that is so critical to the job that they do today. And to do that and to use machines that can help leverage that is in my mind a true application of artificial intelligence that hasn't really been delivered in this industry. And so when you look at the design of a system like ours, what it's really doing is taking away this unpleasant, disgusting job that care staff have to do today and instead giving them actionable reports that enable them to provide follow-ups and better care to the residents that they take care of. And that is, I think part of the, of the reason why our product has been so well adopted in the industry is that you really have to, in this industry make sure that you integrate into the existing clinical workflows of the staff. And one of the things we found early on is that besides doing this, you know, and providing our reports the way I described , we also need to integrate into the systems that are already used. It doesn't make sense to create a separate dashboard to log into. It makes much more sense to integrate this information into the systems that are already being used, the EHRs that are already being used. And so we have integrations with a variety of electronic health records and think that that's very important because at the end of the day you don't wanna be creating more portals, different login systems for the people who are getting this type of information.Patrick Leonard:
Absolutely. Thanks for clarify that, and I think that's right. I think a lot of people and a lot of innovative solutions today, one of their biggest wow factors sometimes are selling points if you will, tends to be oh we have these, this amazing reporting tool built in or these amazing dashboards. And so it's really interesting and cool to hear you taking a little bit of the opposite approach and it's the same type of approach with, like you said, kind of set-it- and-forget-it type of thing when you install this, but the toilet seat from the end user standpoint and then that kind of flows all the way through to the community and caregiver standpoint as well. It's almost like on an as needed basis, we'll give you the information we need but we'll handle it on the back end in the meantime. So I think that's a really interesting and innovative thought process in itself in today's world.Vik Kashyap:
Yeah, our goal is ultimately for this to be one and done. We want it just to happen without effort, without additional maintenance or effort. That is the North Star that we look at when it comes to enabling other humans to help the people who really need, need the help that they receive .Patrick Leonard:
Well Vik, this has been fantastic. Before I wrap up with any of the thought leaders we have on the show, I always like to ask, I'm always curious about what's next in your specific space and area of expertise and any other final thoughts or words of wisdom you want to impart with our listeners would love to hear it before we part ways today?Vik Kashyap:
So one thing that is near and dear to my heart is what kind of changes are happening in the healthcare system today? And I think what we're trying to do here, and I think something that's an inevitable trend, you know across the country is that health care is moving very rapidly towards a home setting. It's leaving the hospital and clinic where it can be left and is coming into the home and it's gonna start happening faster than a lot of people realize, especially after Covid. And so for us, a lot of the future is about how do we enable a world in which people can get a far deeper level of health care from the comfort of their own home. I think what you see today in wearables and other types of remote patient monitoring tools and telehealth is very, very different from what things are gonna look like a few years from now and it's companies like ours that are really focusing on enabling a much more passive ambient experience that I think are ultimately going to bring in a new way in which people are able to engage with their healthcare. And I think this is going to happen a lot faster than people, people imagine. And I think there's a great opportunity for people in the Senior Living space to combine the human care that they have with these new technologies to build something that's truly differentiated. One of the things that I think is unfortunate is that a lot of the technology promise that maybe happened in the first phase of Senior Living adoption of technology hasn't really happened. But I would just say it's important not to close your eyes and mind to the possibility that there will be some things that really do get widescale adoption in the industry that are coming down the pike.Patrick Leonard:
Awesome, thanks so much for that and thanks again for being here today, Vik. I personally have enjoyed our conversations quite a bit. I feel like I learned something new from you every time. Your experience and your background and your passion for what you're doing is amazing both in the technology and the Senior Living space and bringing those two things together is why we're here. So thank you for everything you and your team does and for all the knowledge that you gave our listeners today!Vik Kashyap:
My pleasure, Patrick, thank you for having me!Patrick Leonard:
And listeners, thanks for tuning into another episode of Raising Tech. I know you've probably picked up some very valuable information today as well, and hope you did. If there are any topics you want to hear about or want be on an episode yourself, please feel free to reach out to us on our website at ParasolAlliance.com. Have a good one!
In this episode of Raising Tech, our host, Patrick Leonard, has a thought-provoking conversation with TrueLoo’s Founder, Vik Kashyap, about how TrueLoo’s smart toilet solutions are changing the way Senior Living communities track their residents’ wellness.
Discover more about TrueLoo and their unique approach for monitoring wellness parameters to identify important changes in residents’ health.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
Welcome back to Raising Tech , a podcast about all things technology and senior living. I'm your host, Patrick Leonard, and today we're gonna talk about live chat on your Senior Living community's website. This is a technology that's isn't necessarily new, but something that's continuing to be a topic of discussion as we dive deeper and deeper into the digital world, prospective residents looking more and more to do their research online and in particular your community's website. So with that, I'm gonna introduce you to the experts on this topic who'll be able to dive much deeper. Today, we have with us Rob Bills and Marc Cherabie from SiteStaff Chat. Rob and Marc, welcome to the show.Rob Bills:
Hi Patrick. Thank you so much for having us. We're very excited to talk about our service and the industry in general.Patrick Leonard:
Awesome. So before we dive into this topic, guys, if you don't mind, could you just introduce yourselves, your background a little bit and your specific role with SiteStaff?Rob Bills:
As Patrick said , my name is Marc. I'm the Director of Sales here at SiteStaff Chat . We've started together in the same class. We've actually been here for just over three years and just, you know , working in this , in the sales division , business to business. My background's always been in some sort of sales role, whether it been sunglasses , in a sunglass kiosk, used to have a sunglass business, telecom, you know, basically you name it, I've worked in it. So I'm always been a sales guy, but been thrilled to, to be here and, you know , love the people I work with and super passionate about the industries that we serve and, and the product that we sell. So thanks for having us.Rob Bills:
Yeah, absolutely, and I'm Robert Bills and I've been with the company as Marc said, we started the same week together about three years ago, and I come from a background of real estate and finance and so sales as well. I was real estate broker for 15 years and in finance for just over five, and so coming into to SiteStaff, here, has been an amazing adventure because we really are a family here and we really are team atmosphere and really we all want to lift all boats and make sure that everybody's succeeding. If we're succeeding, our clients are succeeding, our partners are succeeding, and it's just very welcoming and warm place to be.Patrick Leonard:
Awesome, love that. Thanks for that background and , and a little bit about the SiteStaff family. It's really cool that I didn't realize you all started it the same week. That's pretty awesome, and then on this journey, the last few years together, and who better to talk about this powerful sales and marketing tool than some sales and marketing folks like yourself who've been in different industries over the years. So that's awesome. As we dive in, I'm familiar with your tool, I've been exposed to it over the last five or six years as I've been in this Senior Living technology space. But for our listeners who aren't familiar, can you give us just a high level overview of SiteStaff and what it hopes to accomplish as it relates to senior living ?Rob Bills:
Absolutely. So SiteStaff, we've been around, this is our 13th year and really the impetus for the company came from our CEO, Bill Jennings, who said the buying process is changing and things are starting to be bought online, and he saw that even high-end items, things like senior living where it's a very high ticket item, but also a very emotional item. They're also being purchased online, and so he saw the need to make sure that the human element is always captured in that communication online. And that's why he started the chat. It's, it's now been , you know, 13 years. We've done over a million chats in senior living. We're currently on just about 3,000 websites around North America, and it's about giving the very best website experience to that end user. And whether they're looking for customer service, whether they're looking to actually move in, whether they're looking to volunteer employment, there really is nothing that we cannot capture and talk to them at that human level, give them the information that they need and really make it a human connection that is tremendous for our clients as far as capturing that information, capturing that client at their highest level of interest in their community and then creating that lead that becomes, you know, better lead than any other lead they can get besides a personal referral.Patrick Leonard:
Awesome. Thanks for that! You know, I heard some key words come out as you were talking there and the biggest one was human. Obviously in senior livings, that's an important one and, and one that we're all impacted by. It's a human business, it's we're taking care of Senior Living residents and the staff of the communities as well. And I love how you touched on the different use cases at a high level. It's not just for the prospective resident, but it could be for a job applicant or some anybody looking to volunteer you mentioned. But going back to that human piece, it brings up a topic of conversation when I think of chat on websites between the live chat, the human aspect, and then everything going on with AI right now. And I know and more of the automated bots that some people are utilizing on their websites. So can you talk a little bit about those two? What are the differences, how do they kind of work together, if at all? I noticed on your guys' website you have two solutions, kinda the live chat versus the SiteStaff Chat AI. So it sounds like you all are, have entered into that space as well. So can you talk a little bit about those two different solutions?Marc Cherabie:
Yeah, absolutely. You know, so for us, as Robert had just touched on, it's, it's really all about that experience, right? And I think that that's a big shift that you see in the Senior Living industry is experience as a whole, and we always think that the experience definitely starts on the website. There's a lot of emphasis on experience when the resident comes in for a tour or what it's like to live their life there. So it's always about that experience, and so furthermore on, on the live chat versus the AI side, I think we were in a really unique position because we started off as a live chat company. We were really well versed, very well experienced. You know , I've done it for so long, built out our own software, so we had a really great foundation as a live chat company. And then, so developing the AI was just a way for us to expand the experience but also give our clients or our prospects an an additional option, right? Because it's all about options now. So when you really break down the difference between the two, you know, on the AI side it's, it's more of a convenience factor. It's a little bit more geared towards people that might be a little bit more tech savvy or maybe they want questions answered a little bit more quickly and if that's what some of our clients are really adamant about or it just resonates a little bit more with their sales process, they have that option. And whereas on the live chat side, it's gonna be a little bit more of that personal approach, right? It's might result in 8, 10, 15-minute conversations, but those are really meaningful, powerful conversations because a lot of the times, you know, we see visitors come on the website and begin a chat because there's just so much uncertainty. It's not so much about they don't know if they can afford it or they don't know if it's gonna be a right fit, but it's just like what the expectations are, talking them off of that ledge and delivering that experience. So by having both of those, it's just really about being able to be more well-rounded and serve an array of different clients on an array of different websites. And we also have a really unique solution that combines the two together. So you have the ability to have the conversation start off a little bit more automated on the AI side, very easy, just one click through, you know, if somebody's asking maybe about a job application or just a little bit more simple questions of I need a phone number to call or a fax number or whatever it might be. The bot might be able to take care of that, but at any point of the conversation they can click on a button and be connected to a live human right away immediately, within, within 10 seconds. So it, it's a way for us to merge the two great solutions together and create an experience that really just falls in line with whichever the visitors is wanting, whatever works better for them, really give them an option to choose.Patrick Leonard:
I love that. Thanks for clarifying! That makes a lot of sense. I can perfectly see the two use cases separately and how they work together and it makes a lot of sense because I know there are certain things that AI automation, robotics, just the whole concept could sometime it's still new, it can seem scary to some people, but I think there are some very specific use cases like you just mentioned, that it makes a lot of sense and still having the option for the human elements to talk to someone live one-on-one is the best of both worlds in my opinion. So thanks for shedding some light on that.Marc Cherabie:
Yeah, absolutely.Rob Bills:
Yeah, it's really just about giving that end user every option that they want for communicating, and if we're able to do that, then you're able to capture that user at a far more efficient rate than what you're usually getting with other calls to action.Patrick Leonard:
Definitely. So along that same vein, taking a look at the live chat side of things, from my understanding, if I'm a Senior Living community and I want to engage with SiteStaff live chat, we'll be leveraging the power of your team to engage with visitors to the website directly. So how are you ensuring that your team is set up for success to offer kind of a personalized solution and responses as an extension of the senior living community operator?Rob Bills:
Absolutely. Great question, Patrick. And it's one we get often and it really is about creating what we use is called a knowledge base. And we work with the community to build that knowledge base out and it really gives us all the answers that we're looking for. You know, after 13 years we have a really good understanding of what these visitors are , what type of questions are going to be asking. And so we really mold that knowledge base to give us every answer to the majority of questions that are gonna come across that conversation, down to, you know, floor plans, pricing, amenities, even cross streets, you know, nearest churches, nearest hospitals, things like that. So that when we start that conversation with that visitor, that visitor has no idea that we're a separate third party that's not actually sitting at that community because we have so much knowledge, we really are just like a receptionist sitting at the front door of that community. We're just the virtual receptionist at their website, which we could really consider their new front door and their virtual front door. And oftentimes the problem is that a lot of these communities and the operators don't view their website the same way they would a physical location. They don't see the power in treating it the same as that physical location, and by treating it the same and by engaging with that website visitor, you're really giving yourself far more opportunity because you're going to get a lot more website visitors walking through that virtual front door than you'll ever dig walking through your physical locations.Patrick Leonard:
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I love that analogy of your new front door or your virtual front door. I've never heard that before. That makes a lot of sense. And it's so true the day and age, given that it sounds like this solution makes sense for everybody, but if I'm a Senior Living community who hasn't dove into this yet, how do I know if it's a right solution for our use case? What does that process kind of look like?Marc Cherabie:
That's a great question. I mean, really on the basis of it, it's if you're not at 100% occupancy and have a really long wait list , we're a really great fit for you. But what I always tell a lot of the prospects that we speak with is, you know, not all live chat is the same, right? I mean, live chat on the surface seems like it's a great fit for everybody, but really about implementing the right life chat solution, just like it's about hiring the right CSD at the community, having the right employees, you can hire somebody who you think is gonna be a really good fit for your team, but if they're not, it could be very counterproductive. It can affect your, you know, your brand, the overall experience and do the exact opposite. And that's what we always talk about is making sure you're hiring the right solution. And the reason that we feel like we're the right solution is because we are very industry specific, which is extremely important because we could bring over our level of expertise, we could bring a lot of experience that we have and act as kind of a, almost a consultant for a lot of our clients as well. But ultimately we do work for them, we are trained by them. So you're never gonna get the same experience with, you know, one client that we serve with another client because those two communities are so different. So just being pliable and and being able to make sure that we're trained by them and mimicking their process, we can all sprinkle in a little bit of what we think. I think that's really what makes us unique and allows for us to be very successful. But we can also speak with the proper verbiage, obviously showing that empathy , understanding that what the visitors going through, what their families are going through, and be able to connect that way and then really be able to, you know, move that conversation forward. And we can do it at all hours of the day, right? I mean, your website never closes. You can access it at 24/7. So we want somebody available there at 24/7. We think that that's really what puts that community above everybody else if they're able to deliver that service and you know, set them up for success. So, you know, really in a nutshell, if you're looking at, especially in this day and age, right, where staffing is such a challenge that so many communities, so many businesses in general are really going through, you know, allows for us to, you know, at a fraction of the cost, have somebody that's there at all hours to really alleviate a lot of the stresses that those employees at the community levels face. So we really want them to focus on selling, that's ultimately what their job is. We don't want them focusing so much on follow ups and trying to get a hold of these people, let our team take care of all that on the forefront, deliver only the qualified leads, and then pass along the rest elsewhere. So hope that answers your question. I know I can kind of go on a tangent a little bit sometimes.Patrick Leonard:
No tangents are good! That's where we get best nuggets of information and it just sparked another question as you're talking, given that everybody's using this a little bit differently as far as the information that's going back and forth in these chats, it sounds like, you know, your team is answering questions obviously on the community's behalf, but are they going as far as actually booking tours or visits? Are they doing anything post tour or post conversation to nurture these leads? What does that whole lifecycle look like?Rob Bills:
So yeah, some of our technology, we do have the ability to, we integrate it with your CRM system so the leads are sent into your CRMs coded exactly how you want them to code. They are, the transcript is also included in that, which is very important for the sales team to be able to get an understanding of the story behind that individual. But yeah, the other technology that we have is through that integration. We can schedule tours obviously for the communities, but we also have what's called Call Connect. So during our conversation, during our chat with that visitor online, if we've taken that conversation to the point where they're ready to talk to somebody internally at the community, we can connect them directly with that point person in real time through the chat to the community so that they can continue that conversation really capture that hot lead at that point.Patrick Leonard:
Thanks for the clarification there. And so going back again to these different types of use cases and each community utilizing the chat function a little bit differently, can you tell me, and you touched on a little bit before the different use cases from prospects or potential job applicants volunteers, can you tell me a little bit more about the breakdown of what are you all seeing as far as, I don't know if it's a percentage, but just general allocation of who is engaging with chat most frequently. Is it a good mix between the prospects, the family members? Tell me a little bit about that, the audience if you don't mind.Marc Cherabie:
Yeah, definitely something that we're always deep diving into. We would say the big majority is definitely the adult child, especially on the chat side, and for a lot, a lot of reasons, a lot of the times, you know, if it's an adult child, you know, coming in crisis mode, they're like, I need to pull my mom in a new home, I have 48 hours to do it and I live across the country. I mean, there's so many different scenarios, but typically we do see that it's an adult child, but now we are seeing a lot more seniors just chat on their behalf and doing a little bit more of their shopping there. So it's definitely a big mix between that. But I would say definitely the adult child is probably the majority, but we've almost seen it all I would say.Patrick Leonard:
Talk to me a little bit about if I'm a community ready to put this on my site and start chatting today, what does that process look like from implementation? What resources need to be involved, timeline, training and ongoing support needed? Can you walk me through a little bit of that so our listeners can understand if they're not using this already, what that might look like?Rob Bills:
Wow, that's pretty clear .Rob Bills:
and then to follow that up, sorry, Patrick, but so we have a monthly review reviews, we have a whole client success team here because we have 96% retention rate of our clients. It's very important for us to make this all about a relationship, not a a one-time, let's check us out, see if you like it, but we really want to become a integral part of your operations, of your sales cycles so that we really do not become any kind of budgetary item. We really become a revenue generating item and really an appendage of what your systems are already doing. And so through our client success team, we're gonna have monthly reviews where we're constantly going through transcripts, we're making sure that our messaging is correct, we're reviewing our leads sent over, we're making sure that they are actually closing and going places. So it's a process, it's not, you know, one and done type thing. We really do value our clients, and we want to be always in a relationship with them. And that knowledge base that I spoke about, you know, it's a living document, it's always changing. I mean , they're gonna have staffing changes. They may be having a move-in special of some kind or some big event. Those are things that we want to know about, and so they have the ability to go in and make those changes on their knowledge bases as well as just obviously communicating with us and getting those changes done. But it , like I said, that living document, it's gotta always be reviewed. Our data, our stats, our success always needs to be reviewed as well because we wanna make sure that we're adding value at all times.Patrick Leonard:
Yeah, I love that it's true partnership and that makes sense. There's probably so many little nuances in communication changes happening, you know, so frequently in a Senior Living community obviously that of course you want your people on your front line , on the SiteStaff team who are responding, answering questions through your website to visitors to be up to date and all that, to be able to provide the best possible service. So yeah, I'm sure we've only scratched the surface on the depth and having to be proactive about that. So that's fantastic that there's such a , a great process for that. So, what's next as far as the world of web chat ? I mean, it's come such a long way over the years, but from you all's perspective, you know, where is it going next? What can we expect? Anything exciting or, or new and innovative we can be expecting to see coming down the pipeline in the future if we're looking at the crystal ball?Marc Cherabie:
Yeah, I mean definitely there's always , I mean there's always innovation, right? There's, you know, our CEO always says, "if you're not growing, you're dying." So there's always ways for us to, you know, create new products. What's really wonderful is that we've completely developed our own technology, our own software on the back end . So it's completely proprietary and that gives us a lot of options and ability to, whether it be create new products that are, you know , customized for whatever, really whatever, the industry needs or to be able to integrate alongside other software, we have the ability to do it. But, you know, for us the the most important thing is the feedback that we receive from our clients, right, you know, what do they need? We're going into more of a mobile world, right? So we're working on a lot of changes on the mobile side to be able to implement a seamless mobile experience, be able to continue messages via text messaging, right? Or WhatsApp messaging or, or really anything in social media is another part where I think the Senior Living industry is gonna continue to head in. So, we want to make sure that we can manage those leads too, whether it be on Instagram, Facebook Messenger, which we do now for clients and really just be able to continue changing with the time. But for us, we always are gonna stay true to our beliefs and true to our core value. Meaning it's not just going to be about being the new shiny toy or be able to have all these products that just to be able to charge our clients more. We want to make sure that everything that we're offering has a tangible value and a way to measure it, you know, so that starts off with, with the leads that we send, right? It's not just about, "hey, we have this new product that can generate you a thousand, a thousand more leads a month." That might sound great on the surface, but it's something that I think, you know, we know that not really going be more productive. It's not gonna ultimately result in more move-ins a better experience and ultimately more top line revenue. So we'll always have you know, our core basis for how we do and how we help our clients. But in terms of advancing with technologies and, and finding different ways to be able to, you know, work alongside call centers, marketing teams to create really an all-encompassing solution, we'll do it. We're also working on a really great marketplace as well. The marketplace is gonna, you're gonna look at it as kind of a one-stop shop . So not only would it be like a directory listing service where clients can go and view all the different clients, their pages, the amenities, but it's a way that different vendors of all of all sorts. So it'd be, you know, food vendors, medical device equipment, anything can all go on there and, and have a marketplace where they can share a little bit about their company, share about their prices and kind of create that competitive atmosphere. But that's a little bit down the road. If I tell you more, I might have to kill you . So , I won't shed too much of those secrets, but that definitely a lot of really great changes that are coming in the pipeline for sure.Patrick Leonard:
Awesome. I appreciate that. We don't have to spill all the beans, but thanks for a little sneak peek . Well guys, any other final thoughts before we sign off today? This has been great information and I know I personally learned a lot. I'm sure our listeners will as well. Is there any other final thoughts before we part ways?Rob Bills:
Really, I just like to always talk about the fact that one of the reasons that we're so very important is because a lot of your clients, a lot of clients, a lot of these operators are spending a lot of money in marketing right now to drive that website traffic. And often times they're very successful in that. It's wonderful to see these clients, you know, 5K, 6K, 10K or 15,000 monthly unique visitors coming in. And what I like to talk about is that is wonderful, but now it's time when they get to your website, it's time to turn that monolithic number into that individual and be able to engage with that individual and tell their own story and really let them experience a little bit about what your community's all about. And so that's why I think we're so very important is we're able to turn those big numbers into that individual, which just creates, like I've said before, the highest quality lead that you can get besides a personal referral.Marc Cherabie:
Yeah, I would say for me , just to kind of spend on that a little bit, you know, a lot of, a lot of Senior Living communities are , they're tied up. They're so busy, they think that they don't have the time to be able to implement this, and we totally understand that. I think for us, what we always ensure for our clients is that we will make the onboarding as seamless as possible. We'll take care of with as much as of it as we can to really limit the amount of time that you're spending. But even that small investment of time that it might take for the, you know, seven to 10 business days at an onboards is going to save you a lot of time in the long run. It's not nearly as time consuming as a lot of our prospects think that they are. And another thing is, how can we entrust another vendor? We can sit here and talk all day about, you know , why you can trust us and our experience and all that kind of good stuff. But for us it's really about hear it from our clients, test it out yourself, you know, see what it's like and allow for us to have that opportunity to prove it. You know, we really are about guaranteeing an ROI and making it as risk free and as painless for all of our clients as possible. If they're not finding any value, if they're not getting a return on investment, they won't pay anything until they do. So we really make it as simple as possible to, you know, make the entry point , very seamless, and so for us, it's just about if you allow for us to earn that opportunity, if we can earn that opportunity to serve you, we can guarantee and and be very confident that you will be happy in all aspects of the service. So that would be just another final thought for me.Patrick Leonard:
Awesome. The personal guarantee, you heard it here!Rob Bills:
First written into every contract, it's literally written into every contract ROI guarantee. So we're not producing, we turn off our billing.Patrick Leonard:
Love it. Well, thanks again guys, for taking the time to be here with us today. This was a lot of fun, it was super educational for someone who personally thought they knew a thing or two about this topic, I certainly learned a lot. So I know our listeners will as well . Thanks again for being here.Rob Bills:
Thank you for the opportunity, Patrick. Great seeing you .Marc Cherabie:
Thanks so much. We appreciate it.Patrick Leonard:
And listeners, thanks for tuning into another episode of Raising Tech. Hopefully you all picked up some valuable information today. Is there any topics or you want to hear about anything in particular or be on the episode here yourself? Please feel free to reach out on our website at www.ParasolAlliance.com. Have a good one!
In this episode of Raising Tech, our host, Patrick Leonard, has a great conversation with Rob Bills and Marc Cherabie from SiteStaff Chat, about how SiteStaff Chat offers a human-powered and empathetic approach when communicating with website visitors.
Discover more about the benefits SiteStaff Chat provides Senior Living communities by offering a personal touch in interacting with potential residents, their family members, potential employees and more.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
Welcome back to Raising Tech, a podcast about all things technology and Senior Living. Today, I'm your host, Patrick Leonard, and I'm really excited to interview someone who needs no introduction. Our other primary host for the Raising T ech podcast, Amber Bardon. Hey Amber!Amber Bardon:
Hey Patrick.Patrick Leonard:
So today we're gonna dive into a topic that we're hearing a lot about lately and working with a lot of our clients on, and that's new construction technology design. So to set the stage for the discussion, Amber, can you educate our listeners a little bit about what does new construction technology design mean from a high level for those who aren't familiar?Amber Bardon:
Sure, so, projects that we get involved with for our clients that involve technology design and new construction encompass what the name suggests. So it can be brand new construction, brand new buildings, but it also applies to any remodeling that's happening in the community. If a community is doing any type of painting or remodeling or things like that, that can be a great time to do things like enhance Wi-fi, put in access points because if you're already doing work in the room and you're opening up ceilings and things like that, it can be more cost effective to try to make any technology changes at that same time. So what we're going to talk about today really applies to either one of those situations or a variation of either one of those situations anywhere between complete design from the ground up as well as remodel or renovation of existing buildings.Patrick Leonard:
Awesome! Thanks for that overview. So to start things off, who are kind of the key stakeholders involved in a project like this? There's a lot of different hands in the bucket at different times I imagine. Can you talk to our listeners a little bit about who those folks are?Amber Bardon:
Definitely, and this can be a very complicated and confusing part of these projects. Oftentimes we start working with clients and I start asking questions around who are the key stakeholders or who are contracted for different parts of the design and building configuration, and a lot of times the client isn't exactly sure because there's so many different parties involved. There's the architect team, the construction team, low voltage vendors, and so the very first thing I like to do when starting a project like this is to do a project kickoff meeting and bring everybody together so we can have a conversation and actually run through a matrix that I've created that talks about all of the different components that are needed from a technology standpoint and really identify who is responsible for what, have certain things already been contracted, are certain things not contracted, there's nobody identified and really clarify who has responsibility for what components of the project and then to keep that communication open and ongoing. So have a weekly status call, send status updates on a regular basis, just to make sure that all the key stakeholders are involved because there can be a lot of moving parts with these types of projects.Patrick Leonard:
So given all those different stakeholders and people involved in this process, who is typically the community looking to take the lead on all this, right? Is it the IT vendor, is it the architect, is it the community representative themselves? I imagine someone has to be kind of the main pointof contact at the end of the day, make decisions and keep everybody marching along in the right direction.Amber Bardon:
Yeah, again, this is something that there's no one standard and this is why it's important to identify what's contracted under who or things that are not contracted upfront . Oftentimes, there can be an owner's rep that's involved. Sometimes there isn't anybody identified. Sometimes this is contracted through the architectural firm and that there's people involved on that end. Sometimes it is the local IT support. So really, it can, a lot of times the communities don't know, and they're not sure and that's where we bring value in working with clients on these projects because we're able to be that stakeholder who can come in and identify and clarify and ensure that all the components and parts are moving together.Patrick Leonard:
Awesome, thanks for that. So bringing it back to the IT side of things, obviously our specialty and where we engage in these projects. In a perfect world, when is the ideal timing to bring an IT provider like us into the picture for a new construction project?Amber Bardon:
I think it's really important to have technology have a seat at the table from the very beginning. One of the things that I like to ask in these types of projects as soon as possible is what is your technology vision? So what I mean by that is when you think about this building, let's just say with the example of brand new construction. So when this building opens up, what are you envisioning to be offered in this building when it comes to things like robots? Are you thinking about having robots in the building? Are you thinking about having smart home technology? Do you want to have Alexas in each room? And these are things that are not typically thought of in the scope of the IT piece of new construction. A lot of times when people think about the IT design, they're thinking about just computers, they're just thinking about switches, things like that. And they don't think about what are the business side or the business purpose of technology and this building, and that has to be decided upon pretty early on because there's things that again, that you wouldn't normally think of as technology with robotics for example. So if you are envisioning having robots in your new building, robots can't open doors, and I know that there's some companies working on that technology but if that's not available, you need to consider that. Does the robot have a clear floor plan or a clear pathway between where it's going to be going? Do you have charging stations? And so I think identifying that vision upfront is the most important. And then from there you can build out the design to meet the requirements and the technology vision may be very basic. It may not be this, you know, very futuristic , forward-thinking robots and all that. It could just be we wanna provide basic network services to our residents and to our staff or maybe we only wanna provide technology to our staff and we're not going to worry, worry about the residents. But I think making those decisions as soon as possible will help inform influence and help you budget and prepare for the rest of the phases of the project.Patrick Leonard:
Awesome. That makes sense. And so where do we typically start? You just rattled off a lot of different things and a lot of different aspects and considerations to take into account when getting started. So where do you start?Amber Bardon:
I recommend starting with that project kickoff meeting that I referenced earlier and bringing all the stakeholders together to talk about a lot of the things that I mentioned already. So first of all, that's where we can talk about your technology vision. We can talk about what are your expectations for a couple of key areas. Wi- fi is the big one. I personally believe we're in a Wi-fi crisis right now. We're heading towards a Wi-fi crisis. I think more and more communities are really gonna need this wall-to-wall Wi-fi and that's simply not planned for or budgeted in a lot of new construction projects that I've been involved in. And to me that's a huge missed opportunity. Even if you don't plan to have advanced technology such as wearables and smart homes at the moment you open the building, you wanna be prepared to be able to offer that in the future. And there's also staff considerations to think about when we think about Wi-fi. So even if you don't again wanna offer Wi-fi to residents, but you do want your staff to carry smartphones or devices that they can get alerts from emergency call systems, they need to be able to have Wi-fi throughout the entire building and have that be continuous. So identifying what are the ways you're planning to offer network services Wi-fi? Are you okay with putting access points in the resident rooms? What is your security vision? How do you envision cameras being used in the building? Do you want them in the hallways? Do you want them in common areas? Do you want them external? How about door access? Do you plan to have key fobs on every door? Just the mudrooms. All of these things are gonna be associated with a cost. So the sooner we can identify some of these big decisions and how you wanna proceed, the sooner we can get to coming up with an actual realistic budget to prepare for these. Another thing to consider is if you're adding a new building to an existing community, do you wanna use those same systems and extend them or are we starting from scratch? I usually see a couple of different combinations here. So if a community is building a new building and they already have existing buildings, they either love or hate the systems that they currently have. So they either want to extend what they have or this is a good chance for them to pick new systems to put in the new building with the intention to later retrofit those systems back into their existing building. So in that case we wanna go through a requirements analysis and help them select the best possible systems.Patrick Leonard:
Great. Thanks for providing some concrete examples of systems and considerations to take there. So this all sounds super expensive, <laugh>, it sounds, it sounds very expensive. I'm sure there's a wide range of costs associated with this depending on the community of course. But can you give us just an idea for a community that's embarking on something like this, what are rule-of-thumb costs associated with a project like this that they should be aware of and building into their budget right away?Amber Bardon:
I can definitely share some rule-of-thumb estimates, and I know you mentioned that this is very expensive and that is completely true. But the biggest issue I see is that none of this or very little of this is planned or budgeted for. So I would definitely argue that it is an expensive item but it's gonna be a lot worse hit to your budget if you don't plan for it upfront and then you find out later that you do need to put in that $200,000 nurse call system for example. So as far as some rule-of-thumb estimates when we talk about Wi-fi, if you take away nothing else from this meeting, I would like you to at least take away the idea that you need to do wall-to-wall Wi-fi, and it needs to be specked appropriately to handle all network needs from voice to streaming, et cetera . So wall-to-wall Wi-fi, we generally use $2 a square foot. That would include hardware cabling, subscriptions and licenses and all of that. Now that's not always a hard-and-fast rule because it may depend on the construction of the building. If there's a lot of cinder block or concrete or things like that that we see in older buildings, you may need more access points. But $2 a square foot is a pretty good rule-of-thumb for Wi-fi, and that can even be for an existing building placing the Wi-fi that you have currently. When we talk about other types of low voltage systems such as security systems for access control, which would be the key fobs on the doors, we can estimate about $2,500-$3,000 per door. Again, that would include hardware, cabling, power, all of that security cameras we can use about a thousand dollars per door, again includes cabling. And then for emergency call we can consider around a thousand dollars per room. So those are some general rule-of-thumb estimates that people can use.Patrick Leonard:
That's great! That's super helpful. So we've kind of talked thus far about perfect world. If you were brought in from the start, from an IT perspective, if we budgeted all these things from the get-go, we have this perfect alignment between all the different stakeholders involved in this project. But what if that didn't happen? What if an operator gets into a situation for a new construction project and they didn't properly budget for these things? Your IT isn't brought in at as early of a stage as you would've liked. What do you recommend doing that stage?Amber Bardon:
Unfortunately, this is a pretty common scenario and this is one of the reasons why I wanted to do this podcast . We also spoke on this topic at national LeadingAge last year because this is often an afterthought or thought about way too late in the game. I was actually speaking with one of our partner's architectural firm and he mentioned they had reached out to us because of this issue of not having IT involved and he mentioned that they're taking out cabinets and things like that to try to fund the IT side of things too far down the road. That being said, it does happen that this is not thought of, it's not planned for. So I would say again, if nothing else, I'm gonna sound like a broken record here, but if nothing else, try to get that wall-to-wall Wi-fi in , that's gonna be your foundation. If you put that in to start with, it's gonna be much more cost effective to do it at that time versus to go back and try to cable and install it later. So if you can, I would say the priority is definitely that wall-to-wall Wi-fi and then the networking equipment necessary to support that and then the systems that have to do with life safety, you wanna make sure that you can get those in. So emergency call, I know that a lot of communities are building AL IL and they're not considering emergency call for IL. I'm starting to see that change. I'm starting to see more communities wanna put in some type of emergency call system in IL because residents are asking for technology that can be used to help keep them safe and that may be something a little bit outside of a traditional emergency call and maybe more like an active monitoring system or a life safety check-in or something like that. But I would definitely make sure that you have those things accounted for and if you need to cut other things, you know security cameras, you could always do later door access, you know, you could always just use keys. That technology is not as essential to the life safety and to the future of the building as the other systems that I mentioned.Patrick Leonard:
So, we're doing a handful of these projects right now with clients and we've done a lot, we're learned more and more with each project because each one I'm sure has its specific nuances and and key kind of findings and learnings. But outside of just being brought into a project sooner, are there other common mishaps you see or things that you wish we would've or the operator or another stakeholder would've known sooner that would be helpful pass along to our listeners?Amber Bardon:
I think a lot of it comes down to budget and schedule. I have yet to see any project that has an adequate technology budget to cover all of the different aspects. So what I would consider to be included in an adequate technology budget would be Wi-fi, which I already mentioned, the closets, so everything that needs to go in the technology closets from racks to UPS devices to switches, all the cabling that's associated cabling between the closets, internal and external connections, all of the devices. So computers, tablets, laptops, docking stations, monitors the phone system and actual phones, mobile phones, printers, copiers, digital display, security cameras, door access and emergency calls. And then there's other things like time clocks, point-of-sale, other business systems, things you may need to support the enterprise systems you're using to run the community. So I've yet to see any budget that encompasses all of those things. So I think definitely having an appropriate, and you may not have the detail on all of those items, but to have an appropriate amount set aside I would say is something that is lacking, and then the other piece of that is schedule. So, because people don't think about this, they realize they need it too late and then it's a rush job so they want it within a few days or two weeks or something like that and especially if we need to pick new systems, do system selection, do requirements analysis, that can take some time. Even doing a Wi-fi design takes a couple of days. So again, bringing it in as soon as possible, making sure you have enough time to properly spec out the, the technology needs because these are, like you said earlier, Patrick, these are expensive systems and we don't wanna just throw something in there without, you know, adequately having the time to vet it to make sure it's gonna go the distance for the community. And then I would say just the last part of, you know, things that you know, you should know upfront or lessons learned is just the communication piece. There's a lot of changes to schedules, there's a lot of moving parts and sometimes the technology team, again is not updated on those things. So I think definitely having a regular status call, making sure that everyone's in the loop is really important and I've seen that that that kind of falls off a lot of times or left out and then there's a lot of scrambling last minute or things aren't ready when they need to be. So I would just make sure that everybody knows deadlines for things like we need to have the nurse call system up and running by this state . We need to have the network up and running by this state . So making sure it's clearly communicated to everybody as well as all the components that need to be done around those due dates and then keeping everybody updated as schedules may change.Patrick Leonard:
So with everything happening in the new construction space and everything happening in from a technology perspective, where are things going next? I guess what new innovation consideration should communities be considering as part of this process? If budget were no option, what would the ideal teched-out community look like?Amber Bardon:
This is a favorite topic of mine and I wanna refer listeners back to a podcast we did with Pi Architects firm because we talked about this topic a little bit. And I'm actually going to quote their president in what he said. So he, I asked him to walk me through if a new building was opening up with money, no object, what would the resident's day-to-day look like ? And his vision was essentially that the resident would be woken up by custom music playing. They would have a greeting, you know, "good morning, Mrs. Smith, here's your activities for the day." This is what's on the menu for breakfast this morning. Here's your reminder to take your medications as they were to walk down the hallway. They would have customized music playing for them. They would have pictures changing on the wall. They would be wearing devices that would be tracking their health and their vital signs. There would be experience rooms in the community, kind of like virtual reality so that residents could have different journeys and travel as part of their life enrichment program. So I think that that's a really amazing vision. It sounds like an amazing place to live in the future. I don't think we're quite there yet, but I do think in the next 10 years we're going to see a definite shift. I think we're going to start seeing in the next 10 years, residents and family members go to a potential community and ask questions like, what technology do you have to prevent me from falling? What technology do you have to monitor me to make sure I get up every morning? What technology do you have for me to communicate with you if I do fall or if there is an issue? And so I think a lot of these things that are, we think of as innovative right now are gonna become expected requirements. I think residents are going to want to have whatever they have in their homes, if they have Alexa, they have Google Nest, they have things like that in their home, they're going to expect and require that when they move into a community. I think they're going to look for life safety technology like falls prevention, falls management, more innovative nurse call functions like the monitoring that I spoke about, the resident engagement applications, which will have a portal for all of their activities and information for the day and things about the community that can order meals right from their phone or place a work order, contact the front desk. So I definitely think all of that is coming along with the things I spoke about earlier with robotics and AI, and I think it's an exciting time. But again, all of that comes down to having that core Wi-fi. I'm gonna mention that again at the end here because again, I want that to be a key takeaway for everybody.Patrick Leonard:
Yeah, I was thinking about that previous episode as well and just kind of putting myself in the shoes of a potential resident or resident in the future, Senior Living, teched-out community and and how cool that would be as a resident, as an adult child, and really as a staff member. So it's really cool to think about and that's all that stuff you just mentioned is not far off. It's happening right now. It's just not many people have pulled all of those pieces together and and allocated the budget towards it. But I do think it's gonna be become more cost effective to do all those things and it's gonna be added into the budget sooner, which is really cool. So thanks so much for the conversation today, Amber. Are there any final thoughts or words of wisdom on this topic before we wrap up?Amber Bardon:
I'll just add what I say on a lot of different topics that we talk about here at Parasol Alliance that we present on is it all comes back to shifting this mindset away from when you're thinking about new construction and remodel. Just thinking about IT as my computer or IT just as my switch account and how many switches do I need to, again, incorporating the idea that technology is a lot more than that. That it's AI, business intelligence, robotics, all these things that we talked about on this episode, and shifting that mindset to how can technology help enable us as a community, increase resident engagement, increase staff happiness through technology, and how can we make sure that that's all incorporated and accounted for in what we're doing both today and in the future. How do we make sure that that's incorporated both today and in the future?Patrick Leonard:
Awesome. Thank you for that. Well Amber, thanks again for the conversation today and listeners, thanks for tuning into another great episode of Raising Tech . Hopefully you picked up some valuable information from our discussion today, and if there are any topics you want to hear about or want to be on an episode yourself, please feel free to reach out on our website at www.ParasolAlliance.com. Have a good one!
Welcome to Raising Tech. I'm your host, Amber Bardon, and today our guest is Jeff Gray. Welcome to the show, Jeff.Jeff Gray:
Thank you.Amber Bardon:
So Jeff, you are with Age Tech Atlanta. Tell me a little bit about yourself and what exactly is Age Tech Atlanta?Jeff Gray:
Well, maybe I'll tell you a little bit about my journey in tech. So, my first business and my first successful exit was a company called ValueCheck, and we were the precursor. If you've ever gone onto Zillow and used the Zestimate. We were the early version of that. We were the first company in the country to automate appraisals, and we sold that to RealEstate .com , which was here in Atlanta. So I relocated from LA to Atlanta and experienced all the culture shock you can imagine from that move anyway, but, you know, got involved in tech before ValueCheck and it stayed with it ever since, and I got into Age Tech, which is, you know, really just technology that somehow designed to positively impact the world of aging, elder care, longevity as a result of my experience with Alzheimer's and my mom diagnosed, went through the caregiver journey, moved to memory care and all of that stuff got me thinking about, you know, trying to innovate and make things better.Amber Bardon:
It's interesting how so many founders in this industry have that personal experience with a family member or someone else in their life that leads them to a leadership position or creating a company in the space. So tell me a little bit more, what exactly is Age Tech. How was it founded? What's its mission? What's its purpose? What are some of the key initiatives?Jeff Gray:
Well, start with kind of the larger mission. I'll tell you a little bit about how we founded it . You know , Age Tech Atlanta, you know, we are a community of innovators and entrepreneurs, educators, researchers, and leaders in Atlanta that are like reimagining what it means to grow old, what it's like to age, and while we're at it, we've expanded our mission. You know, we are dead set to make Atlanta the number one city to grow old in America. Feel like we can't do one without doing the second one. Right? That would be crazy. So it's a community, no barriers to entry. Anybody can join a very tight-knit, we exist to help each other learn and grow and scale and succeed.Amber Bardon:
Can you tell me a little bit more about some of the things that you're working on?Jeff Gray:
Age Tech Atlanta does six in-person meetups a year. So that keeps us really busy. That's where we get together and have speakers that present, you know, whether it's, you know, our last speakers we're from Bells Skye who services the needs of states and counties and cities and , Age Tech startup in the, you know, health and wellness space, and then another startup in the longevity space and, and sort of age management space. So we learn from each other six times a year in person right here in Atlanta. We endeavor to produce and or host a couple of large events a year. The next of those is coming up in March. So we'll be hosting the Age Tech Challenge Innovation Showcase at the On Aging Conference right here in Atlanta in March, and then we'll likely host a symposium or or summit. So those are kind of the day-to-day things that we're working on. But as a team, we're really focused on that second initiative, which is what does it take to make this the best place to grow old? And you know, we see that as a shared endeavor. So we're networking with people all over the globe all the time. It's not really competitive about making Atlanta number one, but sharing the things that we can do here and succeed at that other people can replicate. We're learning from things that other people have done in terms of impacting the community of folks that are aging, and even really just defining what that means, you know, who, what is an aging person you could talk about . You mean that's a confusing, that's a confusing conversation all in itself.Amber Bardon:
I know, I kind of want to go down that road, but I kind of don't <laugh> causeJeff Gray:
No . So have you guys noticed that there's this new phrase that now you've gotta use, which is older adults? Have you seen the older adults phrase?Amber Bardon:
I feel like since I've been in this industry, I've seen so many evolutions of what the correct terms are, and that's just, that's ,Jeff Gray:
So now we're on that one, but I don't get it. I don't understand what an older adult is. I don't know. When did , when would you become older? Who would you be older than and how would one older adult be similar to another and in a way that would be productive to make their lives better? It's totally baffling to me. So,Amber Bardon:
Yeah, I personally like the elder term, which was really out of favor for a long time, but it's starting to come back a little bit. I think it just has kind of a retro feel to it.Jeff Gray:
Yeah, well , I don't know that people who are 80 or 75 or know that they care. I feel, I don't know if we talked about this when we had our first chat, but I think it's interesting that people that are what we would categorize as older, stereotypically older in our, in our culture, are the only group of people. Like we , I belong to different groups of people. I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a bald man , I'm a divorced bald man , you know, whatever. But we've done , sometimes we kind of identify as certain things like a person might identify them as LGBTQ or African American or Asian American or anything doesn't really matter. But every other group of people describes themselves except older people, and then the rest of us describe them, and so now we're saying, oh, well now we're gonna call you older Americans. I think it's just kind of funny. I don't think anybody really cares, but I do think it underscores the problems of succeeding, which is really our mission at Age Tech Atlanta is to help everybody succeed in their mission. If you don't understand the complexity, complexities and differences within the community, you serve older adults, you're gonna have a hard time having a successful business. You're gonna have a hard time fulfilling your mission if your mission is to help people or to, you know, be disruptive or to change the world in, in some way, shape or form. So it's a small, funny little thing, but it's kind of important.Amber Bardon:
Jeff, as part of Age Tech, I believe you're staying up-to-date on some of the trends, some of the common things that you're seeing, some of the gaps. Can you tell me a little bit more about what you see is happening today in aging services from your perspective?Jeff Gray:
Well, I'll give you some, we'll kind of just tackle a couple . I think the first thing I would bring into this conversation around , and to the extent that I'm able to and frequently do interact with founders of Age Tech companies. One of my grounding principles is, and I learned this lesson the hard way, is that your story is not your business model, and so this is actually a big topic because so many founders burn off a lot of time and often a lot of money learning that lesson. So, I think more in this space than any place you said it when we started the conversation, almost everybody we talked to has begun this journey with a pretty profound life experience, right? And that's put them into the space, but it's very important that we understand that a story and a business model are two different things. And so that's a huge weeding out process as companies figure out what, what their business model is and how they can be successful a part of that journey. Then it kind of goes to your question, which is what are the gaps? What are the opportunities, what's going on? And I, you know, we talked about senior care and I'm not a senior care senior living specialist, nor am I really an insider, but many of our companies service the needs of that community, and I would say that, like if you look at the process around what, what adoption is looking like in that industry today, I think most people that are leaders in that industry would categorize their industry as lagging in technology adoption to some degree, and there's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with not being first in adoption that carries its own risks. But I do see some gaps. I think the biggest one in senior care, Senior Living, I think really is , is mobile. There has not been as much use of mobile and certainly almost no use of branded mobile apps. It is incredibly rare to see a provider with a branded mobile experience, which I find fascinating because if you talk to those same operators, they'll tell you how important family satisfaction is, right? How happy is the family that's not living there with the experience that their loved one has as a resident and also getting favorable reviews. And there's no single tool that helps you do better in those two areas than a branded app, branded experience that puts, you know, your brand and the place where your one loved one lives, you know, right in your family member's pocket. So I see that as a big gap, and I think, I think we're gonna see adoption there take hold soon. I think you'll see a handful of maybe larger operators do it, and I think a lot of people will follow suit very quickly, and I think, you know, there'll be some growing pains, but I think it'll be a win across the board.Amber Bardon:
Yeah, I think that this is a really exciting time. I think in the next 10 years we're really gonna start to see a big shift where we're going to start seeing older adults move into communities or want to have services from communities that are going to expect them to look and feel and be different than they are today, and I think it's gonna be a challenge for a lot of communities to navigate that. Starting with, you know, what you mentioned earlier is just how do you do that marketing and how do you tell that story but also have, you know, some of these processes in place and how do you prepare and, and how do you manage the financial impact? Because a lot of the technology out there specifically is gonna rely really heavily on Wi-Fi, and that's a huge cost for pretty much every community that I interact with, and it's an insurmountable cost in a lot of cases. So I'm curious to see how, you know, as an industry we're going to approach , um, some new and native innovative things, but also have the infrastructure to maintain and manage those effectively.Jeff Gray:
I would agree with you there for sure. I mean, you know, it's, these are not small projects and so if you are looking to deploy technologies that rely on, you know, great bandwidth and in every single room, whether it's a resident room or a public space, you know , that can be a challenge, and it's not , it's not a trivial cost to bring that infrastructure in for sure. You know, I do think when you look at the builders of technologies, and these could be everything from a startup to ventures that start to scale, but it definitely at the earlier stage where the major innovation tends to be taking place. I think in our, in our space, we see for some reason, and I don't know why, but I think we see a lot less co-creation. Real, you know, real true blue , creating the value, you know, creating the application, whatever that is with your end user, especially when that end user is a senior, right? So that is somebody who's gonna use the technology and being smart about it. You know, there is a difference between, let me give you an example. We've all seen charts on, you know, mobile adoption. So depending on the last one you looked at, we're gonna probably agree that adoption for people over 65, so mobile smartphone. Let's call it smartphone adoption. That's gonna be like 65%, 70%, and I mean, that's close, right? But so here's the miss, don't interpret that as proficiency. Don't interpret that as willingness to install and use a mobile app. So those, those behaviors are discreet, they're separate from just the possession of the phone. But these mistakes happen all the time. We're like, well 65% of people have have a smartphone so we can have an app and they'll all use it. This is definitely not the case, and so that lack of granular, nitty-gritty approach definitely causes people a lot of pain and suffering for sure. You know?Amber Bardon:
Yeah, that makes sense. I haven't thought about it too much from that perspective, but as you were saying it, I was like, obviously <laugh>. So, what would you say are some ways that organizations can make inroads on this? How can they, are there some characteristics that can help operators help their clients leverage technology more effectively? Really both on the business side and on the resident side?Jeff Gray:
That's a lot to talk about. I mean, I definitely think, you know, look , staffing is a problem for everybody today, but I do, you know, I do senior living operators across the whole spectrum, they have unique problems, right? They are operating three types of business in one, in one property, or one structure or one enterprise, right? So food services and resident being, you know , residential services. So , a restaurant and a hotel and a hospital. As you hear many people say there's , you know, there's lots of budgetary pressures, and so adding more staff, another staff position is not a trivial thing. So all that as context, I think you're going to , you'll see the, the smart operators looking to have people on their technology teams that have experience in data science, in data analytics, real data scientists, or maybe even hire those positions because if there's one thing we know, whether you're capturing it or not, as a senior living operator, there is a lot of data within the walls of your property or across the enterprise. And you are probably, today, I hazard to guess, you're not capturing that data and you're not analyzing it and you're not gaining insights from the data on how to make decisions. And those decisions could be around care, they could be around activities, all kinds of things. But I talked to somebody on the phone the other day that said they had recently hired a data scientist and I was stunned, but I mean excited, but I think those things are gonna be needed. If you look at enterprises rare now to not have competency in that area, if you don't have that competency, I think it becomes very challenging to look and to see if you're getting the ROI, you want to see if you're getting the impact. If you're looking for outcomes now , those things can be challenging. If you don't have that competency, I think you'll see that start to come along.Amber Bardon:
Yeah, I agree with you 100%. This is something that's been on my radar for a long time because I think it starts with just process efficiency because there's a lot of communities using systems that don't even have a good way to capture the data, and then those that do have, you know, more robust systems aren't using them effectively, and so it's, it's a multi-pronged issue from both, you know, are we capturing the data, do we have the ability, and then how are we actually using that data? And it's something I'm starting to hear a lot more need for when I go onsite and I do interviews, which I'm doing all the time, is this need to wanna be able to make data-driven decisions and to have that information, and I feel the industry as a whole is just , is pretty behind other industries from that perspective, but I am starting to see that become more and more of a need and an ask for most communities.Jeff Gray:
Yeah . Yeah. I mean, look the schedules that everybody's, you know, the demands on the workload demands in this environment are very high. So, you know, finding people to, to do pilots and to then I think if you are an innovator a nd from an Age Tech perspective, you feel where you can help change things, where you can change the world is in an environment, right? Senior Living, independent living, skilled, that whole area. If that's your realm, you would be wise to invest in finding ways to give your operator clients and your pilot, your operators that p ilot your p roperty, give them data and give them analytics and give them insights that they're probably not, they may not be capable of getting on their own. You m ight need to bridge that gap for them because it's not obvious that they w ould be doing it on their own. And, you know, so having that kind of competency and under and being able to, you know, they say what some of the most successful SaaS models, some productivity software will tell you every time you use it'll, it's calculating how much time you've saved, right? At every iteration, you know, how much money you've saved, how much time you've saved, essentially. It's almost like a Fitbit model, how many steps have I walked? So being able to constantly give that information to somebody who's using your product for, so you've got either better adoption or better retention. Mm-hmm . <affirmative> , I think you'll see that.Amber Bardon:
Yeah, Yeah. No , yeah, I agree, and I know there's technology out there to do that today. So that leads me into my last question for you. If we were imagining five, 10 years in the future, what technology is gonna look like? What the impact is gonna be on the day-to-day? Again, both on the operational and on the resident side, tell me, tell me, what's your vision? What do you see in your, in your magic mirror for the future?Jeff Gray:
Oh, the magic mirror. Well, I'll tell you what I do think this might is maybe not incredibly precise, but I had an opportunity a long time ago when I was creating a product to sit with one of the lead engineers at Snapchat, and he explained their philosophy around minimizing all of the touch required to use their app anytime they could get rid of any touch. How can I minimize that? And so you see that apps that are used heavily, especially by younger people in a social media environment, they can navigate these apps very quickly. And I think what you're going to see are more and more technology that's used by caregivers, by managers, by executive directors. I think you're gonna see more technology and more mobile technology that's just that fast where we're not navigating menus and putting in data, but we're swiping, we're learning from the social apps around just how to navigate, how to have an experience that accomplishes goals very quickly, you know, in seconds versus minutes. And there are things today that are taking 10 and 15 and 20 minutes at a crack that are relatively small tasks. I want to provide some feedback to a resident's family member in the form of a photo that reinforces a reminder I was given that sort of says, "Hey, we're, we're following guidance here," and all of that takes quite a bit of time. And time is really in short supply. So technologies that allow people to just, you know, essentially be a staff multiplier, I think are the things that we're really, really gonna see, and I think some of those, we can't even think what they're going to be right now. And then I also think you're really starting to see people coming in and bringing data together and so that people can start to have one uniform dashboard that they can look at and navigate without having to log in and out and in and out. So I think this is a problem in every enterprise for sure. But if you look at the demands and workload in Senior Living, senior care, those gains, in time, can be really huge because we're not, we don't have robots yet and we don't have clone, so we can't replicate human beings and we don't have sensory robots that could take over. So the main thing we've got to do with technology right now is expand caregiver capacity, and the second thing, and this is really a third rail, is where possible eliminate the need for the caregiver, and you can get why that's scary because we don't want the end result to be that people don't get cared for but making sure that a caregiver's not needed, whether they're not needed, that's just going to be really critical. Well, it already is.Amber Bardon:
Yeah. I agree with you. I'm nodding my head along with what you're saying because these are all the things I hear day-to-day at the sites that I work with, and I was working with one of our clients based out in California. So they have, I think about 35 communities. They're all pretty small, but they have about 3,000 people in their Senior Living division, and I met with their head of HR who told me that he's come to the realization that 10% of open positions he will never be able to fill and what are the alternatives? And so we had a conversation about robots and where that's at and some of these automation tools that you're talking about. But I also get a lot of pushback when I bring this up that, you know, from what you just mentioned is t hat sort of this fear of, you know, providing person-centered care and this, this in-person, you know, hospitality and caregiving model that's been around forever a nd, and t he, a lot of fear of change that's gonna g o along with that, and then I think there's the whole regulatory side too. So is the regulation going to keep up with the technology changes that are coming?Jeff Gray:
Yeah , you know, at Age Tech Atlanta, we see innovators in the workforce space, you know, companies that are, you know, helping to find more, more people who, you know, what is a company here, ProsperCare that's really done profound in innovation around the demands of filling those positions in Chattr in Tampa. Then you see innovations in CRM for Senior Living and , you know, and in onboarding, credentialing and visitation, you know, so companies that are large like Accushield and Welcome Home and then folks that are in activities. So I would , it's amazing how many, so Age Tech Atlanta is not about Senior Living. It's not about senior that , you know, it's not about that specifically, but it's amazing how much innovation is happening there, and by the way, I will tell you this is, here's a common pathway that you see started a company, maybe raised some pre-seed capital, got my product out there, it tested really well with one-on-one failed at B2C. And then what's the big idea that we come up with? So version one product a nice MVP or better test , well , everybody likes it. Go to market , B2C fails. Now what are we gonna do? We're gonna sell to Senior Living. So somebody has that idea, you know, every minute of every day . And, and it's just not always feasible. You know, you can't just say, well, we're gonna walk that in because what does the, what does the non-experienced entrepreneur know? Well, we've heard what prices are and it's obviously expensive, so they must have a lot of money to spend. They must buy a lot of technology. They're a great buyer, we'll go sell them . And so this pathway is very common. What we just, that we just laid out and fraught with peril. And you do see a lot of people who, I will say this is common, everything, but I think you see people who innovate and they have great ideas and so forth, but they are trying to address a market that they know absolutely nothing about. This is nothing. And so that is really challenging.Amber Bardon:
Yeah, and the biggest pitfall I see there, again, going back to the Wi-Fi issue, is that they've built technology that's, you know , completely dependent on having wall-to-wall Wi-Fi and they try to implement it at communities or even in people's homes, and that's just not there, and then it's a failed experience all around. So that's, you know, I think there's, I've definitely seen that lack of understanding from what you're describing.Jeff Gray:
Yeah, I mean, I think, I think there's a , a tendency to try for one size fits all , or silver bullet. So this one thing is gonna do all of this. Fall detection's a great example of that. Everybody wants to have some one thing, it's gonna detect every fall, everywhere, all the time, time, no matter where it is. That's just not possible. It's not possible today. It's not going to be possible soon. I mean, you could deploy a solution that would work , it would be a massive deployment. So rather than saying, Hey, we have goals to predict, prevent, and detect falls , and we think our greatest risk for falls that we need to detect are in public spaces that are poorly attended or low traffic, someone falls in the kitchen or the dining room. We're gonna probably know that we probably don't need to worry about a fault , a radar fall detector in the dining room. And really being smart about that and thinking, where do these things go and how can, how can we move the needle, right? How can we really, really improve versus how can I detect all falls all the time throughout the property? And those are, those are just really different exercises.Amber Bardon:
Yeah, I , uh, I feel like we could talk about that topic for a long time as well. But Jeff , we are running short on time, so I wanna thank you for coming on the show today. It's been an amazing conversation. Is there any last words of wisdom you want to leave our listeners with?Jeff Gray:
Last words of wisdom? So that's a , you threw a curve ball at me.Amber Bardon:
That sounds very ominous, actually. <laugh>.Jeff Gray:
Yeah . So there's some words of wisdom my dad gave me in a letter when I started my first job out of college, and it basically said, when you're having a terrible day and nothing's working, go get your shoes shined. It'll do great things for your attitude, and I think, so the advice is we're all gonna have really bad days. Sometimes you're gonna have a lot of them in a row, especially if you're trying to sell in a Senior Living and you're getting a lot of noes and nobody is piloting your product. So if you have a really bad day, do something nice for yourself, go get your shoes shined. It'll do great things for your attitude.Amber Bardon:
All right. Love it, love it . Love the ending words! Well, can you let me know where can our listeners find you?Jeff Gray:
The easiest way to find me, I mean, you know, on LinkedIn, Jeffrey Gray , my main product is The Memory Kit. So Jeff@TheMemoryKit.com, But anybody that's looking to get involved in Age Tech Atlanta, www.AgeTechAtlanta.com or .org, you can find us there. All the information you need about events that are coming up, how to get involved, how to participate, and you're welcome to join our community wherever on the planet you call home.Amber Bardon:
Thanks Jeff for joining us today.Jeff Gray:
Thank you guys. I really appreciate it . It was a lot of fun!Amber Bardon:
And listeners, if you have a topic you'd like to submit or you have feedback on this episode, you can find us online at www.ParasolAlliance.com, and as always, thank you for listening!
In this episode of Raising Tech, our host, Amber Bardon, has a great conversation with Age Tech Atlanta's Founder, Jeff Gray, about how Age Tech Atlanta's community are changing the definition and experience of aging.
Discover more about how Age Tech Atlanta's startup founders, educators, researchers and influencers in the fields of age tech, elder care, and longevity are reimagining how we age.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
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