RALEIGH — K4Connect, which creates technology centered around the Internet of Things to help older adults and individuals with disabilities, started focusing on ways to help senior communities deal with the coronavirus threat several weeks ago,
“We’re exceedingly focused on it and started two weeks ago, not just the last few days, said CEO and founder F. Scott Moody in an interview with WRAL TechWire.
“We are super-actively engaged. Seven days a week the last few weeks. Two things are important: making sure the resident’s family knows what’s going on with the resident and that the staff and family can communicate. Communication is extremely important at a time like this. An important element is for the family to make sure everything is ok with the resident.”
The ability of tech to help with communications is critically important when residents and families may lack such normal touch points such as visits from family and friends if they are curtailed, Moody said.
He acknowledges that tech augments the abilities of caregivers. “Tech doesn’t do it by itself. It doesn’t replace the human touch,” Moody said. “The caregiver is serving the same person we are.” Moody added that senior community caregivers “are an unbelievably caring group of people. They do a very difficult job for very little pay. They don’t get to work from home. They’re the front line. We’re here to help them.”
In general, Moody said, senior communities are pretty well prepared to deal with coronavirus because its the flu season, which is also significant to older adults. So senior communities prepare for that.
Technology can help by using K4Connect protocols and actions in place for a few weeks now to replace manual processes that are otherwise labor intensive. “It allows residents to do more on their own without requiring staff help,” Moody said.
For instance, the company works with Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker. “Voice technologies make it easier for a resident to know what’s going on,” said Moody. K4Connect provides Alexa units already programmed for use, so a resident only needs to plug it in. “We’re able to integrate Alexa into all departments (of a senior community). It makes it easier for the resident and staff to communicate.”
K4Connect tech also provides TV search functions, the ability for families to call and get resident updates without going through the front desk, smart signage in hallways, and a weekly Covid19 bulletin.
“I think what’s happening now shows the importance of technology in being able to manage a crisis like this,” Moody said.