Industry News >Unified Communications >

How Unified Communications is Helping Senior Citizens Stay Young at Heart

April 23, 2015 by

Approximately 1.4 million senior citizens live in nursing homes, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Many of these residents may not have access to the activities they previously enjoyed, and they may not see or talk to their family and friends on a regular basis. But that is all about to change with the implementation of unified communications solutions in nursing home facilities.

Increased Communication

While not necessarily cut off from the outside world, social engagement for nursing home residents can be limited. Family and friends may not have the time or the ability to visit, so the only social activity seniors have are with fellow residents and care providers. However, new cloud-based UC programs open up new doors for communication.

Through this software, senior citizens can access their email, share photos and videos, and participate in video conferencing. These tools allow residents to stay in touch with their loved ones, even if it's not possible in-person, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Senior citizens can also use these programs as their own personal palm pilot. They can store events in their calendars, set up reminders, and set alarms for their medication, HIT Consultant explained.

Residents also have access to multi-player games through the software. Social engagement is important for senior citizens so that they don't feel secluded from society. Participating in Wii-like games, such as karaoke and simulated bike rides, with their fellow residents can help them feel included and less alone.

Improved Therapy Methods

These UC solutions offer ways to tailor the programs to each senior, which is especially useful in calming patients with dementia and Alzheimer's, the source explained. Care providers can access photos, music, and games, among other things, to aid in soothing an anxious resident.

"For many years, older individuals, particularly those with dementia, were perceived as not being able to engage (with their surroundings)," Dr. Michelle Braun, a neuropsychologist with Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group, told Kenosha News. "Social engagement reduces loneliness, helps promote optimal cognitive function, and reduces decline."

The programs, which are accessed through tablets, televisions, and similar devices, also aid in patients' physical therapy. According to the Inquirer, simulated games allow residents to exercise without feeling like they're working out. These applications distract their minds while their bodies get the movement they need.

Social engagement programs allow nursing home residents to stay connected with the outside world, as well as each other. These cloud services combine communication with health care initiatives in order to create a therapeutic system that makes seniors feel included and happier.

Subscribe to Fuze's Newsletter