Over the past year, the role of technology in communication has become critical, not just for businesses and schools, but for our seniors, as well. On March 10, we’re sitting down with Matt Reiners, the co-founder of Eversound, and Kris Frankel of The Arbor Company to discuss some of the ways seniors are staying connected today. We hope you’ll join us for this interesting and important webinar. Click the video above to check out a preview!
- Hello everyone, and welcome into Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. Thank you for stopping by to catch this preview of our upcoming webinar, Staying Connected & Engaged. Now you can catch this webinar March 10th, at 3:00pm Eastern time I've got Matt Reiners the co-founder of Eversound, and Kris Frankel with the Arbor company who is joining me today to discuss some of the ways seniors are staying connected today. First, let's start with you, Kris. It is no secret that the pandemic has isolated many of us from friends, family, loved ones, literally our day to day activities but the pandemic has really had a huge impact on our seniors. Can you tell us what you have seen within Arbor communities over the past year and how has the Arbor community been able to help in terms of isolation?
- Well, we've definitely seen a lot of isolation but I think we've seen a lot of teamwork where people in the communities have really come together to try to make this a learning experience and to try to take what we've learned over the last year to provide better programming. So during the pandemic, when we had to be more quarantined, we did a lot of hallway activities which allowed us to build relationships with our residents we never had time to do before. It gave us the time to spend time and really get to know who our residents are. We had residents participate more than ever because they were able to come right outside of their rooms and have fun with our neighbors across the hallway from each other and just really appreciate and understand the value of relationships and friendships.
- There's that sort of old school style way of communicating, and then we turn to the new school way and the newer technology that has sort of helped connect people and that's where Matt comes into play with his company Eversound. Matt you partner with the Arbor company to provide some of that wonderful new technology that we're talking about to connect seniors with their loved ones and each other. Can you explain how this works?
- Yeah, of course. So the way that Eversound really helps senior living residents and communities is to really just help with the communication side of things and really answer the question of how do we stay physically distant that's socially connected and the way that it works. And of course, we'll go into a little bit more in depth on next week but basically you can plug in any audio source whether it be a television, AB system, computer, laptop or microphone directly into a transmitter and then broadcast to all the headphones within 300 feet, and you can have up to 120 headphones to one transmitter, so, as Kris had mentioned the hallway activities, you might have people down the hall that might not be able hear or program director elevating or screaming to be able to be heard, but using the system allows for everyone to hear what they should be listening to at a level of comfortable to them.
- Yeah, and one aspect of this technology that I was not aware of that I really find exciting and that I think other people will find exciting too when they hear about this, is that this technology has really been shown to improve cognitive, function and delay the impact of other health conditions. Can you talk a little bit more about that Matt and the continued use that you see as a benefit of using the Eversound product?
- Yeah, of course. So, I don't think it's a surprise to anybody and Kris of course, is the expert on this but more and more people are coming out and saying that social isolation will be a greater threat to healthy aging than obesity. We've had some studies come out and say that prolonged sense of social isolation is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day, which is just pretty wild when you think about the health impact that could have on someone, but what we believe plays a major role in this social isolation is hearing loss. And what the numbers say is that 80% of people over the age of 85 have some sort of hearing loss less than one in five that could benefit from a hearing aid or actually wearing one consistently, and then we're finding this big gap between these people that have hearing loss and the ones that are wearing hearing aids, we're finding all of these negative health outcomes that are taking place where some of the ones that are a little bit more revealing to me is if you have moderate to severe hearing loss you're three to five times more likely to develop dementia. There's also increased risk of falling, an increased risk of developing kidney disease and also an increased risk of mortality, which is just pretty wild when you think how one sense can really impact the quality of life for somebody 'cause it's really everything between the ears that's doing the listening and the hearing. So with our product and with Eversound really helps to, again help with the communication side of things to provide some of these moments where people are reconnecting with the world around them. And we've had time and time again of people using Eversound as a strategy before resorting the medication, a strategy to help people reengage or come out to those activities that they might not have been able to or hold those conversations with their loved ones where before it might be someone just screaming at another, and that's no way to communicate with someone that you love or someone that you care for.
- Those statistics are incredibly eyeopening and incredible to hear. And this is what I love about Arbor is the people who work there have the forward-thinking to think ahead beyond what's happening in front of them. And Kris Frankel, we call you the mini genius on this because you were the person that brought this relationship to Arbor with Eversound, and this happened back in 2019, before we hit a pandemic where we saw all this social isolation, and it started with a pilot with 11 communities with Arbor, where does that number stand now, and can you tell me how impactful this particular program has been to residents especially over the past year?
- Well, like you said, we piloted it with 11 communities at the beginning and now we have it in all of our communities, all of our Arbor communities up and down the East Coast. Especially this year Eversound has been so incredibly impactful because with the families not being able to come in to visit their loved ones, they created a visitation package which allowed two way communication. So with our families outside of a window or outside of a door and our residents inside, Eversound allowed them to have great communication and allowed them to have those meaningful moments that they had been missing for so long to be able to have that face to face, mom I see you, mom I love you, and actually be able to hear them and not yell or try to mouth read, but really truly have a conversation and be able to hear. It was so phenomenal and I think it really truly helped keep a lot of people sinking into a depression that they might have otherwise gone into if they weren't able to see their loved one in person and hear them.
- Yeah, and just on the heels of that Kris what is some of the feedback you've received from maybe if it's the families or the residents themselves who've maybe tried it out for the first time?
- I actually got to watch a resident try it out for the first time, and it was during a bingo game right prior to the pandemic. And we were chatting and I put the headphones on her ears and I said into the microphone, okay, she should be able to hear soon, and she said, "What, I can hear you, "oh my goodness, I hear you." And she was so excited to play after that because it was the first time that she could clearly hear what was happening and not feel isolated from the rest of the group. So it was one of those moments where you were just so excited for how happy she was.
- That is amazing. That is an excellent example of... A hack technology is kind of creating a whole new world for people and including our seniors. And I guess finally, Matt, our viewers will have a chance to ask you questions during this webinar. What is the number one question you get from people interested in Eversound and how do you respond?
- Yeah, of course. So I think if there is a number one question that we're asked especially by family members is can I get Eversound at home, right? I wanna be able to communicate with my loved one at home. And right now Eversound just works with senior living communities directly, so it just is one of those tools that we feel so fortunate and grateful to work with the amazing people at the Arbor company where they're able to offer this service to their residents. So it's just one of those value adds to really add to the safety, joy, and growth of the individual in terms of living in that Arbor community.
- Yeah, that's great. And Arbor I know is fortunate to have you guys and have that partnership and maybe someday down the road, you think it could be something that could be added to homes in general.
- Yeah, I definitely think so. Being a small startup we gotta focus on one thing at a time, so wanna get really good at working with senior living communities across the country, and they can start to explore that individual consumer market for sure.
- Gosh, I love it. So much good information today guys, the webinar for those of you watching is called Staying Connected & Engaged, you can watch it live March 10th, at 3:00pm Eastern time, we hope you join us and we'll become a part of our conversation. Matt Reiners, Kris Frankel, thank you both for taking the time to share your knowledge with us today.
- Thank you.
- Thank you, Melissa.