We have devoted considerable attention to technology in our content. It is hard to keep up as new ones sprout all the time. But seldom do you find free technology that both facilities and caregivers can use to communicate and find out how a loved one is doing in a nursing home, assisted living facility, at a home health visit or at an adult day center. Now with a simple and valuable smart phone app called How’s My Mom they can.
How’s My Mom provides an app that can be used on any Apple or Android phone or tablet which allows senior living centers to send electronic updates on their residents to their families. Families can choose the day of the week they want to receive their updates which provides great customization as the updates can balance with in-person visits from families. For example, if a daughter or son visits Monday and Friday, updates could be provided Wednesday and Saturday.
And to repeat, while there are other services available, this is free for providers.
Each morning the app displays to the center only the residents who are due for an update. As the activity director (typically) sees a resident throughout the day, she simply taps on the screen and follows the How’s My Mom update screens which include the following:
- Taking a picture of the resident (sitting, arts and crafts, at events, dining, relaxing, all the fun activities senior living centers do). The picture function intelligently does not require any uploading as the photo instantly populates the update.
- Typing a wellness update (great for rehab updates) or overall information on the resident. “Judy is really building her strength and took 7 steps today on her own!”
- Typing a message from the resident to the family e.g. “Conner - Have fun at the beach and please bring me pictures when you come to visit”
- Typing a message from the center to the family e.g. “Don’t forget our family night next Thursday when we have Dr. Dean speaking on dementia” or “We love Judy and she is a gem of our center!”
The information is then converted into a fluid email that is delivered directly to the family’s email account. The email has marketing features as the name of the center is sprinkled throughout the update automatically by the How’s My Mom system. The family can even include up to three other members to receive the updates from the system directly so there is no need to forward the emails.
The family can send a message back to their loved one through the app by typing into a text box in their account on the How’s My Mom website. Their message “pops” the next time the staff does an update and the staff reads the family message to the resident. For example, “Mom - I loved seeing the picture of you playing the Wii game and can’t wait to see you next Tuesday. Love you, Conner”.
Under the family member’s account on the How’s My Mom website, families can see all the prior updates in chronological order so if they want to go back and scroll the updates they can have a visual of the history of mom or dad in the center.
If you are a senior living center, I know what you are thinking – how much time is this going to take to complete these updates? To complete an update only takes about a minute. Also, the reductions in inbound calls the center will get from family members will more than save the center the time required for the updates.
Technology is especially valuable when it enables something to be done faster or better than before. How’s My Mom has the potential to change the way senior living centers, residents, and families stay connected.