App Aims To Help Seniors Live Full Lives
John, a resident at senior care facility The Plaza Assisted Living in Moanalua, received phone calls from his two adult children almost every day. While that sounds nice — and it was — it eventually turned grating. They both always had the same, mundane questions: What did you do today? You didn’t sleep all day, did you? It became stressful for John (name changed for privacy), and he felt the interaction was shallow.
But that changed a few months ago, when Plaza began using Sagely, an app that allows senior facilities to manage residents’ activities, compile information digitally and share it with families in real time.
“To me, it’s like Facebook for seniors,” says Tricia Medeiros, The Plaza Assisted Living regional director. “There’s this news feed of all these things that are happening that you can track and get notifications.”
That means that John’s kids can see exactly what he did all day, and even get notifications sent right to their phone when he took an aerobics class, or joined a group movie night. “
Rather than having the conversation steered toward ‘What did you do?’ they can connect on a deeper level, talking about how the kids are or planning for their next get together,” explains The Plaza at Moanalua activity director Eric Domingo. “(John) seems more at ease with everything.”
Developed by Todd Funasaki and Jeff Malins in collaboration with Team Praxis, Sagely came out of conversations the two had with coworkers and friends who faced difficulties in caring for aging parents. The main goal, they say, is to improve quality of life for seniors and their families, while simultaneously streamlining operations for assisted living staff.
“The application is really designed around two points of need: The first is the need of staff members of these assisted living communities, and then the second is the needs of the family members of the residents who are in those communities,” explains Malins.
To create Sagely, Funasaki and Malins embedded themselves within communities such as The Plaza at Moanalua to evaluate the needs of all parties involved — the care staff, along with the seniors and their families — and then integrated their findings into the app.
The Plaza is among a few assisted living communities locally and on the Mainland that Sagely has been working with. In the future, Funasaki and Malins also aim to introduce Sagely to other populations, such as adult day care centers or individual homecare providers.
For Plaza staff, Sagely has made their jobs more efficient, as they instantly can access information on any resident. Their favorite food, what activities they enjoy — it’s all there. While Plaza always had collected stats like that, they usually were marked on a piece of paper and then filed away until the resident’s family stopped in for a biannual meeting.
“Now you can access this information all the time,” says Medeiros.
“Information is power. Now, it’s very measurable, very goal-orientated and very analytical,” she continues. “Instead of saying, ‘Your mom is very active,’ we can now say, ‘Your mom participates in 60 percent of the activities that we provide, and that is 20 percent more than she did last year.’”
“These are points of stress that may seem trivial, but just knowing if my mom or dad got out of their room that day … it makes all the difference in the world,” Funasaki says.
For Plaza, having that data has meant they can shape their programs around what is most popular with the residents. (And, Domingo explains with a laugh, it’s also provided fodder for a little friendly competition among his staff.) It also has enabled Plaza to pinpoint residents who are not interacting in order to try to better engage them.
“If you don’t have that information at your fingertips, it can get overlooked,” Funasaki says. “But if you can see trends in (a senior’s) participation, it’s game-changing.”
After all, at the core of all of this, Sagely and Plaza officials agree, are the seniors themselves.
“We really want to improve the quality of life and the health and wellness of all seniors,” Malins says.
“Quality of care and quality of life in health care is almost exclusively talked about from a clinical point of view,” Funasaki adds. “Part of our vision is purposely to focus less on that clinical aspect — they are going to get that care — and continue expanding the value of the life of the resident, not just from a clinical point of view, but from an engagement point of view.”
For more information, call 429-7025, visit gosagely.com or email contact@gosagely. com.