By: Anthony Herring
Introduction – A Sudden Surge
Over the course of 2023, you’ve no doubt heard about a particular tool that is popping up in various industries: A.I. (short for “artificial intelligence”). With it seen as an eventual technological advancement, this surge was inevitable. A result of that inevitability is the growing presence of A.I. in the senior living industry. It will no doubt revolutionize the way retirement communities take care of their residents, acting as a platform to improve their experiences. Before we can further discuss said improvements, an important question must be answered.
1 – What is A.I.?
The technology firm McKinsey and Company defines A.I. as “a machine’s ability to perform cognitive [thinking and reasoning] functions we usually associate with the human mind.” From this definition, McKinsey considers A.I. to be a part of a long line of “smart machines,” which include devices such as calculators and personal computers.
As mentioned earlier, A.I. has been increasingly utilized in many different industries, and Forbes contributor Bernard Marr talks about these specific usages. He details that the retail sectors have been able to create more specific marketing practices and customer service chatbots; financial companies receive help with financial planning, wealth management, and fraud detection; security divisions can make more powerful surveillance networks and threat detection technology; healthcare providers can better customize treatment plans, collect patient data, monitor mental health, and so much more.
2 – What Technology is Present in Communities?
With A.I. making its way in senior living, it’s important to know what technology is already in use to see how this will soon embed itself on a larger scale.
In an article from December 2022, HealthTech Magazine reported that there will be a substantial digitalization of senior care in 2023. Its authors, Jessica Longly and Liz Cramer noted that there will be a rise in audio and video devices—such as FaceTime on Apple products—that can help seniors to communicate with their family and friends, along with allowing them to interact with smart technology, such as thermostats. Longly and Cramer also discussed how the implementation of A.I. could help with what they called “passive sensor technology,” a tool that can aid workers in preventing senior injuries such as falls.
With 2023 now here, was HealthTech right in their predictions? Well, yes, they were (and there is an example to prove it)! President and CEO Mike King authored an article about his retirement community, Jewish Senior Life, and the advancements it has made it using digital devices. He talks about how residents are able to use a plethora of audio and video tools to converse with friends and family, particularly Google Home (a smart speaker) and a computer system named “It’s Never 2 Late” or “iN2L” (a computer system that can help tailor residents’ interests).
Now, while A.I. doesn’t appear to be directly mentioned as part of Jewish Senior Life’s digital devices, it is easy to see how its presence could be applied: both Google Home and It’s Never 2 Late are smart tech, so A.I. could be used to predict what residents might plan to do that day or perhaps change their pre-adjusted schedule (Google Home) and provide specific—or even block—content based on what residents engaged with in the past (iN2L).
Conclusion – To Be Continued
With that, Part One is concluded. We hope this article has helped to give you a better understanding of A.I.’s growing presence and how it can affect the current technology in use at retirement communities. Part Two will go into more detail about two A.I. programs that certain communities are already using, and the potential dangers that could arise. Stay tuned!
The details present in this blog article were comprised of information gathered from the sources listed below. I want to give credit where credit is due.