October 13, 2017 – Over the years I’ve enjoyed writing blog posts. I honestly have no idea who reads them, but they are cathartic for me to write. I’ve been amazed at the dedication and passion so many people have in senior living. My favorite topics share the stories of remarkably inspirational work done by remarkably humble people.
I usually go out of my way to talk about other people and other organizations. Today it’s a bit out of character as I want to write about a transformational leap that iN2L has made in the last year, the story of a product called FOCUS. For 18 years (wow, that’s a long time), iN2L has fought the good fight in trying to dignify activity and therapy programming through our systems which are primarily designed for group engagement.
It’s been a remarkably successful run – over 2500 communities now use iN2L in ways myself and our two other founders (brother Tom and Leslie Sweeney) could never have imagined. What started as a simple donation in 1999 has wound up transforming thousands and thousands of lives over the years and it never would have happened without the hundreds of activity directors, dementia experts, therapists, CNA’s and social workers who have shaped the product.
The evolutionary leap we have made with FOCUS is the ability to impact a person one on one. You can do this through our existing product, but it’s not intimate to touch your picture on a 70” screen. Although it is cool to do that!
We are thrilled to announce that our evolution towards individual experiences is coming to life! We’ve spent thousands of collective hours and a LOT of money, to take the iN2L experience to individuals through an intuitive tablet that we are calling FOCUS. Its particularly ideal for the “household” model, as on one tablet several individuals can have their picture on the screen. By simply touching their picture their own content opens up, totally different content from one person to the next. iN2L CEO, Tom Bang, likes to talk about prescribed engagement and it totally makes sense. If its two in the morning and a resident is extremely agitated, before heading down a psychotropic drug path, they can touch their picture and see their granddaughter saying hello, a priest saying the rosary or the genre of music they enjoy. We’re simply getting people what they want. It’s not that complicated, and it’s not at all outlandish to image the day when that’s what a doctor will prescribe. If I was giving myself a prescription, it would be two doses of Bruce Springsteen, 3 doses of my daughter Perrin singing the blues and one rerun of Nebraska destroying Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. I’ll take that over three doses of Donepezil!
As we plan the roadmap of the company, I like to think about what I would want for myself down the road. I speak all over the country, I love to throw fun iN2L dinners with work colleagues and I am constantly talking and bantering at conferences. But at the end of the day I very much like to be alone, to read books quietly and dwell contentedly in my own solitude. I think the world of senior living can be obsessed with dragging people into group activities whether they want to be there or not. I know I won’t want to be. I’ll want to be Skyping with my kids, listening to music, playing Words With Friends, reading and seeing what Francis from Cameroon is up to. FOCUS is the perfect tool for a person like me.
So that’s it, my promotion of iN2L. A huge thanks to the iN2L team and our advisory group of customers who made this product happen. A particular shout out to Curt Frisch from iN2L, he was the glue that kept the FOCUS project all together – on budget and on time.
Thanks for listening, my next words will be about one of you out there.