If you can learn, you can do anything.

If you can learn, you can do anything. I’m not sure if I heard this somewhere or if I thought of it myself. It doesn’t matter. The message is true: if you can learn, you can do anything. The internet has changed society and the world—we are a global community. Like it or not, we are part of a blended and mobile universe that is interwoven and interconnected. I recently was privileged enough to hear Deepak Chopra speak in person. I was about ten rows from the front and captivated the entire time. He shared with us how we are made of the exact same things as 90%+ of the universe and how it can have awellness impact on our own health. The exact samesubstances, cells, and molecules as, not just plants, animals, and people on Earth, but stars, cosmos, and the fire of the sun.

We are all connected. The birth of the internet made that even more apparent as now we can talk to people across the globe that we never even knew existed until that moment. Its amazing. It inspires curiosity and wonder—just like the thought of being made of molecules that have come from outer space. And yet, I hear over and over “I’m too old for that” or “If you need to learn how to use a smartphone, find a toddler” or “how come these things don’t come with a user manual?” The answer: because if you can learn, you can figure it out. And, you are NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN (unless you want to be and then, by all means, sit on your couch).

Gary Vaynerchuk says “wake up” to the world that is around you. I appreciate his candor because he is capturing the essence of the argument as to why people over the age of 30 (basically) say “oh, I could never do that” and throwing it into oncoming traffic. REALLY?! Can you learn? How do you want to spend the next 40 years of your life?

GaryVee explains it all: (warning: some foul language is used)

 


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Amira on a trip to Chicago.

About the Author: Amira T. Fahoum is the Director of Operations, NW Region for Compass Senior Living located in Eugene, Oregon. Her path to senior living started when she simply decided to be open to possibilities in life. Possibilities are what led her to eight years of learning the senior living industry in roles ranging from Administrative Assistant to Director of Sales and Marketing to unofficial IT coordinator. Possibilities also led her into the world of education technology for almost three years. Now, on her journey with Compass, she has found true reward in working with the people that care for others. She lives in Eugene with her husband, Michael, where they enjoy golf, travel, and volunteering.

Do you trust the average company?

Trust and transparency are two of the hottest topics in senior living right now. Why now? Why not ten years ago? Or twenty? Don’t we always want customers to trust us? The truth is, senior living companies (and many others in various industries) never really had to answer to the consumer. The digital age has introduced a whole new era of interacting with others that have used a service–and want to tell you about it.

What does this mean? Does it really mean that companies wanted to pull the wool over our eyes and just can’t get away with it as easy now? Maybe some, but not certainly all. There are many well-meaning companies out there that really do the right thing. You can see it on the state surveys that are public knowledge. Oregon has a website dedicated to sharing this information.

What steps are being taken? Its great that its coming up now, but transparency really should be an every day thing–from the beginning. Here are ways that you can keep all companies you interact with honest:

  1. Do your homework on regulation citations. Find your state’s government agency such as Seniors and People with Disabilities department or licensing agency that regulates senior living. Ask them for state surveys or records of complaint and whether the complaints were substantiated or not. When all else fails, as the communities that you visit–they’re required to let you see a copy.
  2. Read Reviews. This may seem obvious for restaurants or a hair salon, but its becoming more popular and trusted for senior living companies.
  3. Write reviews. Is someone doing something right? Write about it! Everyone likes to write a negative review when emotions are strong and they want to “stick it to” the company. But, what about those that do something right? Don’t they deserve credit too? Some providers have reviews and links to write them directly on their website.
  4. Look for pricing online. Does the company you’re looking into share their real pricing info freely or do they hide it? Do you have to get the “sales pitch” before you can be”privy” to that information? Whether its true or not, most humans can’t help but feel like something is being hidden when you can’t get a straight answer.

What makes you trust a company over another? Post in the comments or email me. I’d love to hear and keep the dialogue going. Thanks!


About the Author: Amira T. Fahoum is the Director of Marketing and Director of Operations, Northwest Region for Compass Senior Living located in Eugene, Oregon. Her path to senior living started when she simply decided to be open to possibilities in life. Possibilities are what led her to eight years of learning the senior living industry in roles ranging from Administrative Assistant to Director of Sales and Marketing to unofficial IT coordinator. Possibilities also led her into the world of education technology for almost three years. Now, on her journey with Compass, she has found true reward in working with the people that care for others. She lives in Eugene with her husband, Michael, where they enjoy golf, travel, and volunteering.

5 questions seniors (and their families) should ask before buying that tech

In my recent post on questions that senior living providers should ask before buying the latest and greatest technology, I outlined what providers should be asking before they implement technology in senior living communities (or what those considering senior living will want to know). But, what about the individual thinking that a device purchase will make their lives easier? How do you know what device or service to buy? Well, you’re in luck!

Here are the top five questions for individuals to ask:

  1. Why do you want it? Similar to the question what problem are you trying to solve? its important to ask if you are attracted to the “shiny and new” or if you really will use it to make your life better/easier/more enriched. For some, its a necessity to stay in touch with family and friends. For others, it may be necessary to ensure critical tasks are done, like remind you to take your medications. Whatever the reason, make sure it will be a good fit for you.
  2. What do you need the technology or service to do?  Similar to the reasons above, knowing exactly what you need the technology for and what actions you want it to perform will help narrow your search for the right piece of equipment and the right price. Sometimes getting the simpler model will mean less headache for you. Which begs the question….
  3. How quickly do you learn to use new technology? Do you need a user manual or a tutor to help you learn it? The more “features” a device has, the longer it will take you to learn how to use it. Which is why you need to identify what you want it to do, so you can get a device that is simpler if you don’t need or want all the bells and whistles. If you do need special tutoring on how to use it, call your granddaughter or the high school kid next door–chances are, they ‘ll be able to teach you in a few minutes.
  4. How much research are you willing to do? With the dawn of the internet and user reviews has come the ability to see what other people think (for better or worse). Check out Cnet or MIT Technology Review for credible tech reviews and information. These sites exist to help consumers make sense of technology that is forever changing.
  5. What kind of infrastructure or additions will I need to use it? A lot of devices assume that you have a wi-fi network, the ability (and know-how) to create a user profile or account, and that you know the difference between when you’re using wi-fi and when you’re using cellular data. Make sure you ask what other accessories or requirements you’ll need to make it work. It may seem silly to ask does it come with headphones and a charger? But, with more wireless charging devices and really cheap headphones available, you will want to make sure you’re prepared for both additional cost and eliminating headache when it comes to getting set up. This includes reading the fine print of contracts. Always know what you’re agreeing to when you sign up for a service and what you will be charged if you decide to cancel.

Have a technology-related question? Post your questions in the comments and I’ll help you get pointed in the right direction! Happy tech-ing!


About the Author: Amira T. Fahoum is the Director of Marketing and Director of Operations, Northwest Region for Compass Senior Living located in Eugene, Oregon. Her path to senior living started when she simply decided to be open to possibilities in life. Possibilities are what led her to eight years of learning the senior living industry in roles ranging from Administrative Assistant to Director of Sales and Marketing to unofficial IT coordinator. Possibilities also led her into the world of education technology for almost three years. Now, on her journey with Compass, she has found true reward in working with the people that care for others. She lives in Eugene with her husband, Michael, where they enjoy golf, travel, and volunteering.

5 questions (senior living) should ask before buying that tech

I love tech. I love what we can do with it. I love the access to information and people. I’ve come to rely on it to get through my day and keep me on track–it enriches our lives in so many ways. Except, when it doesn’t. I don’t want to admit that sometimes, just sometimes, technology is not a good thing. At any age, I believe there is such a thing as technology for technology’s sake.

Technology in senior living is taking off. You can see the products developed for memory care and a host of innovations that could actually improve our lives as we age. Our own company is implementing technology such as electronic medical records and care plans–allowing each member of the care team to chart progress notes in real time and more closely monitor elder health and well-being.  Peachtree Village in Roswell, New Mexico helped a resident attend her granddaughter’s wedding via Skype® because she couldn’t travel herself. It’s amazing how connected we can be in the digital age!

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Peachtree Village Retirement Living helps a resident attend her granddaughter’s wedding virtually.

Senior living providers were slow to implement these changes. Now that they see the value, though, the largest of the providers are quickly scrambling to show how they are safer, faster, and more innovative with the tech. They’re implementing the latest and greatest technologies for you and your loved ones–they promise that they are the place to live because they have the screens, the remotes, the sensors, and the “flashing lights.” In the process of “getting on the bandwagon” have we stopped to ask is this helping? Or, are we achieving the goals we set out to achieve?

Many of the technologies developed for seniors–whether at home or in a community setting–are keeping elders safer and engaged longer. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that elders are demanding at least wi-fi in senior living communities. There is no doubt that technology needs to be a part of the modern aging experience. It hasn’t even been a part of the aging experience long enough to know what too much really looks like. We don’t know if we’ve fully reached the tech for tech’s sake threshold. But, do we really want to find out?

Here are 5 questions every senior, family, and senior living provider must ask before buying or implementing that tech:

  1. What problem are you trying to solve? Technology is inherently born out of trying to solve a problem such as labor cost, physical demands, lack of information or communication. Be wary of solutions looking for a problem to solve.
  2. What does success look like? The technology should enhance or enrich the lives of the elders or families or employees. If you think it will, what outcomes do you expect to have?
  3. Is there demand? More and more elders and their families are looking for communities and living arrangements with wi-fi. They may not be looking for a screen to replace a human to interact with them during mealtimes.
  4. Are your customers willing to pay for it? You may think that it’s a worthy investment, but do your customers? Technology has a price tag. Whether you increase the rent to cover it or not doesn’t matter as much as the perception that they are paying for it. If they think it’s useless to them, they may not be so hot to write the check.
  5.  Is it single or multi-purpose? Alton Brown, the Food Network star and kitchen master, is a staunch proponent of multiple use tools. Anything that only has one use doesn’t make it into his kitchen. Tech can be the same way–if you can only use it for one small action, you’ll quickly find that the next one developed has multiple good uses and stays useful longer (i.e. the flip phone vs. the smartphone).

About the Author: Amira T. Fahoum is the Director of Marketing and Director of Operations, Northwest Region for Compass Senior Living located in Eugene, Oregon. Her path to senior living started when she simply decided to be open to possibilities in life. Possibilities are what led her to eight years of learning the senior living industry in roles ranging from Administrative Assistant to Director of Sales and Marketing to unofficial IT coordinator. Possibilities also led her into the world of education technology for almost three years. Now, on her journey with Compass, she has found true reward in working with the people that care for others. She lives in Eugene with her husband, Michael, where they enjoy golf, travel, and volunteering.