Several LeadingAge members are providing their technology to be part of a new movement in senior living, the center for healthy living (CHL). A CHL is a new building typology that bridges the gap between senior living and health care, supporting seniors’ mind, body, and spirit.
A CHL addresses eight dimensions of whole-person wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual, physical, occupational, spiritual, social, and financial, according to a recent white paper by architecture firm Perkins Eastman, Centers for Healthy Living: Providing Whole-Person Wellness to Seniors. A CHL may be a single center or a collection of programs, services, and spaces addressing wellness education, arts programs, spa/beauty treatments, and the like.
Technology in a CHL may be part of a center or spread throughout the facility. A recent Senior Housing News article, Hot New Tech Helps Shape Wellness-Centered Senior Living, demonstrates how technology providers are contributing to this effort.
Wearables: LeadingAge member and CAST Patron Ingleside is expanding two of its life plan communities in the Washington, DC, area to include CHLs, using wearable devices to engage residents in improving their health and wellness. Ingleside is also building a website to enable residents to share data from their wearables, encouraging healthy competition among residents and giving health professionals easy access to the data.
Vitality Senior Living in Nashville, TN, also is incorporating wearables. As residents become more accountable for their health, Vitality can plan care around their wellbeing, creating an interactive environment, said Senior Housing News.
SMART Keys for Exercise: A life plan community in Spokane, WA, owned by LeadingAge member Rockwood Retirement Communities, is using SMART keys, or fobs, for its exercise equipment to provide residents with customized workout plans and the ability to track their progress.
Mental Engagement: To expand the wellness concept beyond purely physical, Ingleside is exploring technology that can keep seniors mentally sharp and provide additional opportunities to socialize. Long-distance learning and other education applications are considerations.
LeadingAge member St. John’s on the Lake, a life plan community in Milwaukee, WI, is offering virtual field trips that let groups of residents visit vacation spots online. The community also uses a product from It’s Never 2 Late (iN2L), a LeadingAge CAST Supporter, to offer puzzles, karaoke-style hymns and other spiritual content, exercise videos, and movies and television programs tailored to users’ varying cognitive abilities and other factors, the article said.
Outreach: Some communities also are reaching out to members of the broader community, as CHLs can be used widely, for people of all ages. Vitality is trying to attract others to its restaurants, spas, and exercise offerings, Senior Housing News reported. As a result of the need for flexible technology in CHLs, both Vitality and Ingleside are piloting voice-activation software, with Ingleside residents being able to ask Alexa what's for dinner tonight and get an answer from the Ingleside website.