Next to basic hygiene, accurate and timely information is one of the greatest weapons in the mounting battle against Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) in the United States. In an effort to break down communication barriers hindering a highly vulnerable population – seniors – a Massachusetts-based company named Connected Living, which serves hundreds of senior living communities across the country, is updating its free, public app to provide real-time updates specifically geared to the senior community.
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Technology can help older adults and their families connect meaningfully when they cannot be together in person. (Photo: Business Wire)
Connected Living’s app, available on iOS and Android platforms by the same name, functions as a communication hub for seniors and their families, allowing them to share information on a private social feed, along with their location and activities, and even access a concierge. A portion of the app is dedicated to the latest senior-specific information and updates from credible sources such as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and John Hopkins University, along with Argentum and LeadingAge, the largest senior living trade association and the largest association of nonprofit providers of aging services, including senior living communities.
“The senior population, and especially those with underlying conditions, are at an increased risk for COVID-19, and understandably, there’s a great deal of fear among these individuals and their families,” said Sarah Hoit, CEO of Connected Living. “We can help to combat that fear by connecting families, so they are not isolated, by providing updated information that is relevant to seniors and to those with close ties to seniors.”
The free Connected Living app is available to anyone with an interest in COVID-19 and its impact on the senior community. After downloading the app and creating a basic profile, users can immediately access the latest information about COVID-19, specially geared for seniors. New information, updates and tips about the coronavirus outbreak is shared daily.
“As organizations that serve and support older adults mobilize to protect their residents, access to current and reliable information is essential for making critical operational decisions,” said Katie Smith Sloan, President and CEO of LeadingAge, whose 38 state partners and 5,000-plus members represent aging services providers across the care continuum, as well as hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundations and research partners. “Connected Living is filling an important gap by packaging older-adult-specific information in a way that can be easily digested and put into practical action and accessed for free. They have also assembled COVID-19 response kit for senior living communities to access.”
In addition to real-time, daily updates, the Connected Living app can serve as a direct link for families who may be affected by quarantines or visitation restrictions. Tailored to be friendly to not only seniors but also employers, employees and families, the app is easy and intuitive. Features include private social networking groups (for example, to improve communication for a senior parent who has multiple offspring); forums for increased family engagement (including the ability to share photos and videos); and immediate push notifications for urgent communications.
“This is an important moment where we can use everything we have built to provide connection and information to seniors, families, communities and their staff to stay as safe as possible during this health crisis,” Hoit said. “Our hope is that by making it easier to stay connected – by providing both technology and important tips and information to help manage the threat of COVID-19 – we will help to ease some of the stress and anxiety.”
Connected Living has a comprehensive emergency toolkit for COVID-19 that any senior living community can access to best reach all of their constituents. The company is actively working to keep important senior audiences informed through its suite of technology services, including specialized digital signage, television messaging, its mobile apps, and Alexa. The communication tools assist all constituents who work and live inside and outside of a senior living community. Leadership within senior living communities can also employ a private code on the app to communicate with important audiences during the pandemic and other times of need.
“We applaud Connected Living for making this important resource available to anyone who may be seeking updated and accurate information regarding COVID-19, particularly as it relates to older adults,” said James Balda, president and CEO of Argentum, a national association exclusively dedicated to supporting companies operating professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the older adults and families they serve. “Providing tools, tips, resources, and the latest information, is proving critical during this challenging time. This is another step forward in the efforts to help older adults and their families stay informed and connected as communities work to navigate this new landscape.”
Connected Living was co-founded more than 13 years ago by Hoit after she witnessed her grandmother’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, and saw the need to bridge the digital divide for millions of older Americans by providing a sophisticated suite of technology that focuses on the person, family and community connection along with their life and story.
“Our entire suite of remote programming is going to be a critical tool going forward, because doors are being closed in senior living communities as a means of protection, restricting access to anyone non-essential to the health and wellbeing of this vulnerable audience,” said Hoit. “Families will need to communicate via social media and technology. Connected Living offers a private way to do that.”
For immediate help, communities in need of assistance can email: Covid19@connectedliving.com.
About Connected Living
Based in Quincy, Mass., Connected Living was founded in 2007 to provide technology solutions to senior living communities to help them to deliver compassionate care, and to help seniors and their families to communicate better. The technology encourages resident engagement and inspires our aging population to increase their communication and connection with others to live healthier lives. Hundreds of communities nationwide have worked with Connected Living to increase occupancy, reduce employee turnover, and enhance the quality of life for seniors and their families. For more information about Connected Living, visit ConnectedLiving.com.
Argentum is the leading national association exclusively dedicated to supporting companies operating professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the older adults and families they serve. Since 1990, Argentum has advocated for choice, independence, dignity, and quality of life for all older adults. Argentum member companies operate senior living communities offering assisted living, independent living, continuing care, and memory care services. Along with its state partners, Argentum’s membership represents approximately 75 percent of the senior living industry—an industry with a national economic impact of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars and responsible for providing over 1.6 million jobs. These numbers will continue to grow as the U.S. population ages. Argentum’s programs and initiatives are driven by its membership. For more information about joining Argentum, visit argentum.org/membership. Learn more at argentum.org.
We represent more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we address critical issues by blending applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building. We bring together the most inventive minds in our field to support older adults as they age wherever they call home. We make America a better place to grow old. For more information: leadingage.org.