Activity and Wellness Analytics for Senior Care Communities

By Sarv Devaraj, PhD

The vibrancy of a senior care community’s activity and wellness programs plays a major role in their success. The ability to analyze and derive insights about the innovative branded programs offered in these communities is critical.

What does the term “Analytics” mean, in general?

To paraphrase poet T.S. Eliot’s “The Information Age,” where is the information we have lost in the data? Where is the knowledge we have lost in the information? Where is the wisdom we have lost in the knowledge? Understanding the hierarchy from data to information, from information to knowledge and from knowledge to wisdom is what Analytics is about.

Analytics is a broad field even within long-term care. Narrowing our focus in this article, what does Activity and Wellness Analytics mean for long-term care communities?

Here’s an example of the hierarchy mentioned above as it relates to a long-term care community: A community’s activity calendar constitutes data about the activities offered in that community. But that is all it is, just data — Yoga is in the Activity Room, Crossword Puzzles is in the Dining Room. Additionally, keeping track of attendance at these activities is information. Obviously information is more useful than data — a specific number of specific people participated in a specific activity. However, information alone is not enough to derive deeper insights about the effectiveness of wellness and activity programs at these communities.

Knowledge is when we are able to analyze information collected to understand the resident participation at these activities and help design resident-centric care plans. Which residents attend specific activities? What is the background of the residents that influences their choice of activities?

Finally, wisdom is knowledge accumulated over time and across many communities. When we compare and benchmark branded programs across communities, program managers have the wisdom to design effective resident-centric practices in activity and wellness management. Did participation in a specific Balance Fitness activity lead to a decrease in falls? Did engagement in certain social activities lead to enhanced mood and cognitive performance?

The time, energy and precious budget dollars communities invest into the design of vibrant activity and wellness programs is measurably enhanced when that effort includes the technology that allows them to understand the programs’ effectiveness and impact on outcomes. The end result is better quality of life for residents and successful communities. It is a win-win strategy any way you look at it.

The technology to achieve this winning strategy is knocking at your door. Open the door and let the new wave of technology empower the human touch in the care you provide!

If you are interested in knowing more about enhancing program management using analytics for long term care communities, contact the author at sdevaraj@nd.edu