WiFi Expected: Why Senior Living Residents Want More

WiFi Expected Why Senior Living Residents Want More

It’s not just for teenagers anymore. Recent data on social media usage from Pew Research shows that the percentage of seniors 65 years and older using social media networks has risen sharply over the past five years, with 46% using one or more social media network. And senior Internet usage on the whole continues to rise, with six out of every 10 seniors using the Internet, a number that promises to steadily increase as the Baby Boomer generation ages and brings their favorite technology with them.

Seniors today count on the Internet, and specifically social media, as an easy way to keep in touch with old friends, see pictures of children and grandchildren, learn more about and get involved in causes, and communicate directly with family members that live far away. The Internet is also the fastest way to access a wide range of resources – from medical topics to do-it-yourself tutorials to basic contact information for businesses – that make life easier. The Internet continues to be an important way to maintain connection with the “outside world,” and living in a senior community shouldn’t mean you have to lose that connection.

Senior Communities Are Listening

Happily, many senior communities are beginning to recognize that Internet availability – and even WiFi wireless connection options across their campuses – can be an important service and differentiator to offer their clients. A recent report by Ziegler CFO Hotline Technology showed that nearly 74% of the chief financial officers surveyed reported that their senior living organizations have invested in Internet connectivity in the past 12 months, doubling the percentage from 2012.

Senior living companies are realizing that keeping up with the demand for easy Internet access is imperative to keeping their housing options attractive to new residents, and to making their existing residents happier than ever. Not surprisingly, specialized Internet providers have begun to pop up, focusing specifically on providing Internet service to senior communities and sharing numerous articles and stats to encourage senior living residencies to invest and get ahead of the senior connectivity trend.

Raising the Bar: WiFi Expected

In the past, shared computer labs or business centers have been sufficient to meet the needs of the senior population. However, today there is a growing demand for WiFi connectivity throughout a senior care campus, as new residents bring their existing technology from their previous homes, including smart phones, tablets, and personal computers. Surveys of the baby boomer generation predict that this trend will continue to increase, as many seniors plan to bring their own computer(s) to their retirement communities, and expect to be able to access the Internet as easily as they did at home.

Another popular option is casual Internet café settings that provide WiFi connectivity, along with a new type of social setting for residents. Tech savvy residents can use these Internet cafes as a place to meet and mingle with like-minded seniors who are used to traversing the Internet on a daily basis. For residents still getting up to speed on Internet usage, these cafes, along with the traditional computer rooms, can also be an excellent setting for ongoing technology training sessions on technology topics provided by many senior living residencies, ranging from the basics of connecting to the Internet, to the more advanced topics like social media usage and online shopping.

The trend of today’s seniors today staying more connected promises to help ease the transition into senior living environments, with easy Internet connectivity not only making communication with family and friends easier, but maintaining the amenities of home. And the more the demand grows, the more this connectivity changes from an exception to an expectation.

Megan Hammons lives in the Central Texas countryside just outside of Austin, pursuing her love for copywriting after a career in high-tech marketing. She is part of a large, diverse family and enjoys spending time with the multiple generations living in her community.

7 Comments

  1. Sandra August 3, 2014 Reply

    I have started my search for assisted living at the time I do not need help but @ 70 taking care of a house is getting a bit much.
    I want to have access to my 60″TV and my computer in my apartment. as well as a social media room so I might help others with out skills on a computer. I could not part with my smart phone or a nice parking(covered preferred) for my truck. I may be getting older and a bit weaker then I was, but I still have a lot oh life left in me and do not want to spend it working on a house.

    • Amelia Willson August 4, 2014 Reply

      Hi Sandra, thanks for your comment! I love your desire to help others out with computer skills – sounds like a great way to make new friends 🙂 Have you considered independent living? You can find like-minded, active adults like yourself in such communities. If you want some assistance with your search, you can talk to a senior living advisor local to your area about your options, absolutely for FREE – give us a call at 1-866-333-7320.

  2. Dave August 5, 2014 Reply

    I live in a nursing home that provides free WiFi. It is great to have and considerate of the company to provide to the residents-except for the censorship. For example, some sites for games are called “gambling” and access is blocked. Poker sites that use funny money are blocked as is Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes as “gambling.” I had another site blocked as “weapons/bombs”. It was a gun magazine’s article about WWII military rifles. A Dear Abby link was blocked as “pornography”. I am NOT making this up. I have been trying to get this corporate policy changed for about 9 mo. to no avail. If you don’t like being treated like a child, be sure to ask whether or not certain websites or categories are blocked. If this paternalistic censorship bothers you, it may be harder to find a community that you like.

  3. sarah March 14, 2018 Reply

    what are the risks of using the free public internet connection in my retirement community? Are they the same as using free internet in an airport or Starbucks?

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