The Times They are a Changing…

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Jack York, Founder/President, It’s Never 2 Late

How many out there remember the late ’70s and early ’80s? If you’re like me (57 years old) during that era technology was trickling its way into our lives, drip by drip. But the big technology companies (IBM, Digital Equipment Corporation, etc.) were laggards in the race; they laughed, even openly scoffed, at the idea of computers ever winding up inside a person’s home. These industry behemoths righteously declared that computers were about mainframes, transferring big amounts of data within the hallowed walls of business, academic and governmental entities. And then look what happened. The explosion of the early ’80s – Apple and Microsoft revolutionized the experience, the word “PC” became mainstream, browsers followed (remember Netscape?), AOL was launched, etc. etc. What home now does not have a computer in it…. What life is not impacted today by the miracle of a smart phone?

We can laugh at all of that now, laugh at the shortsightedness of these technology companies who missed a huge market window. But don’t laugh too hard. Have you been to senior living trade shows lately? Technology is in overdrive, showing up in multiple applications, multiple functions, it’s becoming mainstream. But how many of those products are about highlighting technologies that engage the resident, make their lives better? Not too many! Most of the technologies that you will see highlighted are all about medical records, MDS software, HIPAA compliance, how to run your organization more efficiently. Obviously there is nothing wrong with that; that’s not my point. What is missing is technology being recognized as the ultimate tool to make people’s lives better, particularly people with living with dementia. Our company (It’s Never 2 Late) has spent 17 years dedicated to flipping that paradigm, that technology should be just as much about changing your resident’s lives for the better as it is to run your operation more efficiently. It’s not an either/or proposition.

We’re delighted to be seeing the pendulum swing mightily. Not only are senior living organizations buying into engagement technology, but more and more creative solutions are available. Organizations and companies like Music & Memory, Connected Living, Simple C, Linked Senior, etc., are up and running and changing the paradigm. It’s a strong reflection of the changing landscape that we’ve done more business in the last 18 months than the previous 15 years combined!

So my message is a clear one. If you are not investing in technology that engages your residents, you will be trampled by the marketplace. Both of my parents are gone, but if I was in a position to choose a community for my mom or dad, I could frankly care less what your furniture looks like. I would care about how are you keeping Mom and Dad engaged, connected with their family, connected with their friends, connected with their lifelong passions. Engagement technology is moving from a novelty to a market demand.

Pioneer Network exemplifies change and exemplifies doing things for the right reason. The passion that the organization has brought to changing the status quo for dining, bathing, staffing, etc. also includes meaningful engagement. Look at the activity and the therapy programming your organization is providing for your residents. Is it what you would want for your mother, for yourself? You have the power to change that, just as you have changed so many things before! It’s Never 2 Late is thrilled to be a part of changing the culture of aging; technology is a key cog in the wheel. The generation you serve is the generation that invented vacuum tubes, semiconductors, the backbone of the technology we take for granted today. They deserve the right to use it!