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Technology Helping Schools and Companies Handle the Threat of COVID-19, and It Can Help Seniors, too

By Matt Conklin

What a difference a year makes. If you don’t agree look no further than the coronavirus turning our world upside down and changing our everyday technology solutions from a luxury to a necessity overnight.

Colleges have shut their doors and moved classes online to keep students on track. Large and small businesses have issued work-from-home policies in order to reduce risk of spreading the virus, and more companies are moving to this strategy daily. Up until now the option of online courses or remote work were a nice perk, but the current pandemic has made these alternatives a requirement to ensure the community’s health and safety.

As the elderly are twice as likely to have serious complications if they contract the illness, there is a major focus on keeping them safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging older adults to stay home to avoid exposure to the virus. Long-term care facilities have quickly made adjustments to their operations to reduce risk to their residents.

Some changes like suspending visits to the facilities from family members, friends, volunteers, and vendors were made immediately as you might say they were obvious adjustments that would help keep the residents safe. But there are many other areas where facilities can implore technology solutions to aid in keeping their residents safe and healthy now and into the future.

Seniors no longer have the option to safely participate in their typical exercise routines, like going to the gym, physical therapy, or group fitness classes, without significant risk of exposure to COVID-19. At the same time, this type of exercise is essential for seniors to stay healthy. Therefore, technology solutions are no longer just forward thinking or a nice alternative to in-person fitness and wellness options for seniors. These solutions are vital for seniors to maintain their independence and continue to lead healthy, active lives.

On-demand fitness classes designed specifically for seniors can help communities provide everything from strength training and chair yoga, to classes that help improve balance, as well as classes focused on improving emotional health. Seniors can go at their own pace and participate whenever they like from the comfort of their own home using their smartphone, tablet, Smart TV or computer.  This technology also allows seniors to enjoy the ability to choose from a variety of classes for all different skill / ability levels. Results are tracked so the seniors can see their progress and that information can be shared with their loved ones. This helps to provide a connection and peace of mind, especially during a time like this when in-person interactions are not an option.

Technology solutions aren’t just for students and the workforce anymore. Our aging population is much more technology savvy than most of us realize and are open to learning how they can incorporate it into their daily lives, especially when they can see the results. With the current pandemic and hyper focus on keeping seniors healthy, long term care facilities have an opportunity. Now is the time to demonstrate out-of-the-box thinking. Focusing on the quality of life and safety for their residents can be achieved by offering technology solutions such as personalized on-demand fitness and wellness tools.

It is our responsibility as a part of the senior living industry to continue to research, discuss and find creative new ways to provide the best care possible that ensures our seniors can thrive in a safe and healthy environment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Conklin is the VP of Sales and Business Development for Lift Functional Fitness, an on-demand fitness and wellness platform designed specifically for seniors, developed by Sparo Labs.