If Charles de Vilmorin could write a formula for effective person-centred care, it would be made up of equal parts scientific research, technology and fun. These three ingredients form the foundation for Linked Senior, a life enrichment platform providing meaningful social engagement for older adults.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Linked Senior has been more active than ever with the release of their new #ActivitiesStrong campaign, designed to empower senior living professionals, and their social engagement app, Célo Basic. The Centre for Aging & Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), spoke with de Vilmorin to learn more about how Linked Senior is supporting older adults and their caregivers in long-term care centres.
Q: What is the Linked Senior platform and how does it work?
Linked Senior combines technology, education and human touch to create meaningful moments of engagement for older adults in assisted living, memory care, or long-term care environments. We help healthcare providers connect residents to their unique interests and hobbies – whether that’s running, reading, or listening to music. We do this work by gathering data on the interests of older adults and then creating individualized recreation plans. From there, we track residents’ attendance and engagement to help maximize their participation.
“Applying to the I²P² Program at CABHI was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. It’s still proving to be one of the decisions with the highest return on investment for us.”
Q: Can you share some of the results you’ve received since launching the platform?
We know from the study we did with CABHI that Linked Senior enhances the quality of life for older adults in long-term care environments. A key secondary benefit has been the reduction of medication and responsive behaviours related to dementia. The platform also has positive financial outcomes for senior living organizations by helping to improve business indicators, cost savings, and revenue.
Q: How is Linked Senior supporting older adults and their caregivers during COVID-19?
First, we’re highlighting the importance of senior care itself. Too many recreational staff in long-term care settings have been told that their work isn’t considered essential. We created our #ActivitiesStrong campaign to acknowledge, educate, and empower them. The campaign was launched on June 23, with 2,500 registrants and is now branching out to more recreational staff members, thanks to a recent partnership with the National Association of Activities Professionals. We’re also doing programs online every month. We believe the more respected recreational senior living professionals are, the better they’ll be at providing older adults with quality care.
Q: We know ageism has a negative effect on senior care. How is Linked Senior working to combat it?
Ageism is the act of discriminating against someone based on age. Ageism currently isolates and marginalizes older adults, which has a negative impact on all of us, because we lose out on the insights they have to offer. Four years ago, Linked Senior launched the Old People Are Cool campaign to tackle ageism, and to demonstrate that older adults are some of the most interesting people you will find on earth. They’ve lived fantastic lives and want to share it with others. It’s important for us to create inter-generational programs that reflect this.
Q: How has Linked Senior benefited from CABHI support?
It can be difficult to measure the impact of social engagement among older adults. However, our partnership with CABHI and the I²P² Program enabled us to prove that older adults lead more meaningful lives when they participate in activities directly linked to their personal interests. Through our research, we were also able to correlate engagement with both quality of life and clinical and financial outcomes. Applying to the I²P² Program at CABHI was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. It’s still proving to be one of the decisions with the highest return on investment for us.