Families can influence change in aged care wellness programs

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Families play an incredibly important role in wellness and social inclusion programs for aged care.

As the sector has changed over the last 20 years, so to have the expectations of individuals and their families. We are demanding greater choice with wellbeing, activities and the way we connect to our loved ones.

We’re hearing from families who are either reviewing their parents care or looking to make decisions about future care that the sector lacks digital adoption within wellness programs. This relates to home care as well as in residential care.

For example, more grandparents are able to have immediate and private connection with the pre-school environments for their grandchildren using phone apps such as SeeSaw. But when it comes to the older generations and the connection to younger generations, this practical digital innovation is not being broadly adopted. Why shouldn’t we expect grandkids to want the same experience of being connected to their nan or pop?

Some innovative organisations have developed interesting, digital infused social programs that tackle isolation and mental wellbeing. We know that these have a greater chance of success if families are involved. Think about this logically. The most important connections are generally with our family or a best friend. Sending a message is not very interesting if you don’t get one back as technology works best when it is interactive...so get involved!

Where to start? Here are a couple of simple questions to help you to start to the conversations with providers or to encourage them to include digital.

For care in the family home or retirement village:

  • Can you or your loved one communicate digitally with the provider?

  • Do the care team and the workers use apps and technology in their service offering?

  • How ‘tech savvy’ is the organisation when it comes to their social support or community programs?

For care in a residential care home:

  • Does the building have WiFi access throughout?

  • Are there ways for your family to engage with loved ones using technology?

  • How are the activity and wellness programs meeting social and cognitive expectations in a modern world?

The most recent Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2018, still shows a high rate of older people are classed as digitally excluded. As children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews we should be working harder to overcome this by ensuring that technology is not a secondary thought, regardless of the environment our loved ones are in. We must continue to support our older loved ones at home and voice these expectations with providers to help drive the change we want for our parents and for our own care in the future.

Contact Richard at richard@yourlink.com.au or on 0408 742 743 if you would like to further discuss this further.