National Roll-out of Connected Living Network Helps Narrow the Digital Divide for Seniors, While Offering Better Outcomes and Reduced Health Care Costs
QUINCY, Mass., Sept. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Connected Living, a mission-based organization helping senior citizens live richer, more connected lives through the use of technology, today announced the national launch of the Connected Living Network. The award-winning social platform is expanding into leading senior living communities across the country, helping to narrow the digital divide that isolates nearly 19 million senior citizens in the U.S. alone.
Connected Living's cloud-based social platform includes an interface tailored to seniors giving them secure access to the Internet, email, social media tools such as video chat, photos, a library and games. The company provides onsite services to equip computer cafes, provides interactive displays including content such as community and activity calendars, menus, local news and weather, and provides the programming and training to allow the staff and residents to fully engage with these resources. This simplified technology, coupled with classes, activities, and support ensures adoption and sustainable usage so benefits of leading a connected life become a reality.
"Technology improves the quality of life for seniors particularly when it comes to socialization," said Dr. TJ McCallum, associate professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve. "Connected Living's combination of 'high touch support' through their hands-on ambassador program and 'simplified technology' increases adoption and sustainability which as a result, improves the general well-being of those within senior living communities."
Connected Living has steadily been working with many of the nation's most respected senior living providers, including Brookdale Senior Living, Emeritus Senior Living, Benchmark Senior Living, and Beacon Communities, as well as public housing authorities in Boston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and Chicago, to develop and refine the Connected Living Network. Over the last few years, Connected Living has deployed its Network at more than 200 senior living and public housing communities in 24 states, and is now rolling out nationally.
"In the 21st century, a 'connected life' should be a right not a privilege," said Sarah Hoit, CEO and co-founder of Connected Living. "In the United States there are 56 million American adults, including 19 million senior citizens, who do not have access or training to use digital technology and all the benefits it brings: including socialization, family engagement, education, a sense of purpose, and better health outcomes at a lower cost. Our vision is to help seniors ubiquitously cross the digital divide and to positively impact their quality life."
Advantages for Seniors and their Families
The main barriers for seniors, particularly those 65 and older are a lack of awareness about the benefits of computer/Internet use, lack of skills and limited access. Caregivers who would like to help seniors overcome these barriers often do not have the expertise to help, but family members are beginning to ask about access to technology when seeking a suitable senior living community for their loved ones. Connected Living eliminates the digital divide through technology adoption solutions that integrate hardware, software and content with training and ongoing support to get seniors, their families, their communities and their health providers online. With Connected Living, seniors are able to adopt digital activities of daily living including improved wellness and health management, and the ability to connect with family and friends using tools including social media, email and video chat. Connected Living not only dramatically improves quality of life, but also creates better health outcomes at lower costs.
Societal Benefits of a Connected Life
Currently, the most significant portion of the U.S. population that is either lacking availability or has not yet adopted technology is made up mostly by seniors and individuals with disabilities. Isolation within these groups is an ongoing problem and can result in depression which is estimated to cost the United States about $100 billion annually according to a study by the Phoenix Center. The study also observes that computer use among senior citizens decreases depression by as much as 20 percent. Connected Living has proven that these groups want to connect, and that when they do, they benefit from improved mental and physical health and increased self-esteem and happiness.
In addition to the benefits Connected Living offers seniors, their families, and society as a whole, the solution also provides operators of senior living communities with a key differentiator that has been demonstrated to directly and significantly increase their ability to attract and retain residents. The system also provides community administrators with a dashboard from which they can more effectively and efficiently manage their communities. With Connected Living, senior communities can achieve high return on investment through operational cost savings and revenue enhancement.
"I didn't know what I was getting into a couple years ago when a Connected Living ambassador offered to teach me how to use a computer," said Mary McNamara, a resident at Heritage of Des Plaines, a Brookdale senior living community in Des Plaines, Illinois. "Now I'm quite comfortable with it, and my favorite thing is emailing my family – I have 8 children, 16 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren! Recently, my grandson Shae emailed photos and videos to me from Australia. Last week, I sent a happy-birthday email to my great grandson Patrick, who lives in California. Most of all, using the computer is fun. I really enjoy the Connected Living program!"
To see a video of seniors using the Connected Living Network please visit: Voices of our Seniors
About Connected Living
Founded in 2007, Connected Living® is helping senior citizens live richer, more connected lives by combining simplified technology with high-touch personal support. Through its unique Connected Living Network, an award-winning Web-based social platform designed specifically for the senior living industry, the company brings together seniors, their families, and community administrators in a secure, private online community. Coupled with the company's unique approach to training and support, Connected Living integrates social networking, distance learning, community menus and calendars, and an extensive administrator dashboard to help get entire communities online and connected. Connected Living has been adopted by the most recognized thought-leaders in both the private senior living industry and the public housing authorities across the country. www.connectedliving.com
Davies Murphy Group
SOURCE Connected Living