Oxford Senior Living’s in-suite tech helps residents connect, reflect, rememberPosted on February 24, 2014 by ECR Louisville in Blog
Family voice recording in the rooms of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Pleasant reminders for dementia patients to engage in everyday activities. Room-to-room video calls for assisted living residents.
Oxford Senior Living’s new Oxford Grand facility at NewMarket Square, which is accepting its first residents this week, is full of technology. Some systems manage building operations or help staff make sure they’re staying on top of patient needs. But the technologies that truly intrigued me during a tour last week were touch-screen computer systems in each suite that will engage residents on a daily basis.
The Oxford Grand has 24 memory-care suites, along with 53 assisted-living suites ranging from studio to two-bedroom. It’s the latest senior living community by Oxford Senior Living, which also operates the Oxford at Broadmoor in Wichita, Glen Carr House in Derby and other facilities in Texas and Wyoming.
Jason Wiley, the company’s chief creative officer, says Oxford seeks out technology that will benefit residents, staff or business operations.
SimpleC Companion, a system for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia created by SimpleC of Atlanta, fit that bill. Oxford recently started using it at Glen Carr House, and Oxford Grand’s memory-care suites will open with it. Wiley says it helps residents to connect with staff and each other, along with offering cues to remind residents that it’s time to go to breakfast, have a glass of water or get ready to sleep.
A SimpleC touchscreen is mounted on each suite’s wall. Staff can pre-load it with image-and-music slideshows that fit the resident’s interests, like flowers, wildlife or country music. Or families can upload their own images and voice recordings, like their wedding photos paired with a couple’s special song.
Residents can pull up the slideshows at any time, or staff can schedule them. One woman at Glen Carr House, Wiley says, wakes up each morning to a recorded greeting from her grandkids.
Some memory-care patients find the images and music to be comforting, but Wiley says the benefits go beyond that. For example, staff may discover through the slideshows that they have a shared interest.
“That helps to create a bond and a relationship,” he says.
Building trust is especially important when working with memory-care patients, who can perceive familiar staff as strangers, he says.
The uploaded personal photos can also facilitate discussions between the resident and family members. Even if the resident doesn’t remember the family member, the two can review images of a shared experience and have a good conversation, Wiley says.
He says SimpleC helps residents stick with routines, too — something especially important to dementia patients who might be unsure of what they should be doing when. Wiley says dementia patients might not feel or interpret the sensations of hunger, thirst or tiredness in the same way that healthy people do. Staff can schedule breakfast images to appear on the screen at breakfast time, for example, to get the person thinking that it might be a good time for bacon and eggs. A cold glass of lemonade can pop up every two hours as a cue to stay hydrated.
The Oxford Grand’s assisted-living apartments are high-tech, too, though with a different system. Each unit has a tablet computer mounted on the wall running software called CATIE, or Communication and Access to Information Everywhere. Residents can use the system to make video calls to each other or to family and friends. The program also puts up-to-date information, like the dinner menu and activity schedule, at residents’ fingertips.
Community Director Stacy Allen says residents will be able to look up trusted vendors, too. Oxford Senior Living is forming relationships with businesses ranging from health clinics to dry cleaners. Users of CATIE will be able to call them with a tap of the screen.
Wiley says adult learning classes will be available for anyone unsure about the technology, but new users tend to pick up on the intuitive touch-screen controls pretty quickly.
Kellen Jenkins / WBJ
Jason Wiley, chief creative officer of The Oxford Grand, explains the uses of the SimpleC Companion system inside a memory care unit Friday morning at The Oxford Grand, 3051 North Parkdale Circle.
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