Originally Published in VoiceFriend Newsletter, June 2016

Eldercare providers in the US and Canada are collectively spending millions of dollars developing programming and activities for seniors. Is this money well spent? Can programming have a significant effect on the health and wellness of Seniors? A study from Ohio State University says yes they can!

The Research found that seniors can improve their working memory and decision making skills by boosting their moods. Ellen Peters, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at The Ohio State University, found “happiness can benefit a senior’s thinking skills, perhaps improving his or her ability to make decisions”. The study may offer ways for communities to overcome some of the cognitive decline in seniors that until now has been considered an unavoidable side effect of aging.

For eldercare providers, one of the easiest ways to improve the mood of a senior is to ensure they are active and engaged in their community. The Ohio State University research is ground breaking and could be one of the first studies to offer evidence that getting seniors to attend programming improves their cognitive health.

Here’s the challenge for eldercare providers… Programming Directors can schedule compelling activities and events, but how do you ensure that all residents and patients participate?

Thankfully, there are solutions. Many communities across the spectrum of eldercare providers including Five Star Senior Living, Benchmark Senior Living, Harvard Medical school’s affiliate – Hebrew Senior Life and others have successfully used technology such as automated telephone calls to remind and encourage residents and patients to attend activities. These solutions have increased attendance at activities by up to 40% without increasing staffing expenses.

Keeping seniors engaged in community activities is one way to ensure seniors are happy. And as The Ohio State study revealed, a happy senior will be cognitively healthier.

Bruce Baron is CEO of VoiceFriend. VoiceFriend is the leader in providing messaging services for eldercare providers. For more information on solutions to reduce OT expenses, make staff more productive and increase compliance to care plans, please contact VoiceFriend at 781-996-3123 or email us at sales@voicefriend.net.

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