What an event. It was humbling, energizing, and incredibly exciting to be at LeadingAge 2018. I was awed by the myriad of impressive people doing amazing things and paving the way for the future of senior care. Here are my five key takeaways from the conference:
#1 – Engagement technology is moving towards platform neutrality. The special sauce is individualized content.
It was inspiring to see the many ways vendors are tackling the issue of senior engagement. However, while there are many solutions with Alexa-like “request-and-response” interactions, we as an industry can do better. Solutions that create individualized content tool boxes that enable caregivers, staff, and family to engage with seniors at a personal level have the ability to truly change the way we engage—from a one-size-fits-all model to customized approach.
#2 – CMS is recognizing the value of engagement technology.
As we continue to shine light on the importance of quality of life for residents, engagement technology increasingly becoming a must-have, not a nice to have. CMS is recognizing this through programs that seek innovative, replicable models to create foundational programming using technology. I heard many voices at the conference asking how they can take advantage of these opportunities in tandem with solution systems like iN2L to make their communities better. It’s heartening to know that CMS is committed to helping our industry work towards better quality of care, staff engagement and satisfaction, and more.
Our Take the Wheel driving simulator introduced conference attendees to a new engagement experience—but it wouldn’t have happened without the insight of Michael Belleville, a patient advocate who helped us develop the simulation by describing how much he missed driving a car. Diagnosed with Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2013, Michael shared his experiences with attendees as they learned about this potent way of giving residents back the sense of control and freedom that comes from being behind the wheel.
#4 – It’s never too late to create little moments of joy.
(Yes, sometimes I use our company name as a mantra.) We are at a wonderful point in time where technology allows us to go deeper with this underserved population, allowing us to find sparks of vitality in palliative care patients. A simple anecdote from Mary Haynes at Nazareth Homes resonated with me – there was a woman who liked her feet covered before she fell asleep each night. Once this need was known and met, it eliminated her agitation and helped her sleep more peacefully. Attention to little details like that can make the caregivers’ jobs easier and bring comfort and moments of joy to those who need it.
It was amazing to see CEOs, community directors, journalists, and more line up to practice yoga with our herd of miniature goats. Spearheaded by our intrepid founder Jack York, goat yoga is the great equalizer – if you missed it, check out #itsNever2LateforGoatYoga on Instagram for more photos! All donations benefitted Eldercare Cameroon.
If we didn’t get a chance to talk to you at LeadingAge (and even if we did) we’d love to hear from you! Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to say hi and continue the conversation about how we can create a better experience for those in senior care communities.