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How One Retirement Community Uses Technology To Make Life Easier For Residents

Ann Thompson
Maple Knoll Villagae in Springdale has partnered with RoundTower Technologies to create an IoT incubator. The staff envisions the connected devices creating a health profile to prevent problems before residents have to be hospitalized.

Technology is helping to bridge the gap between a growing elderly population and a shortage of doctors. One local retirement community has created an incubator where residents, staff, students and providers can come up with connected devices to make life easier.

Don't discount the elderly residents at Maple Knoll Village. Many are already tech savvy, having done telemedicine as recently as four years ago thanks to the presence of robots in their homes that help them work on things like sleep habits and hydration.

In fact, Maple Knoll Village is preparing to add more technology that can help residents live more comfortably and assess their medical conditions. The retirement community has partnered with the technology company RoundTower to open the Knowledge Bar and ServUS lab.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Here's where demonstrations take place. It's also where residents can learn about ordering groceries online and getting an Uber ride.

The Knowledge Bar will give demonstrations on the latest technology and help residents set up things like Uber rides and ordering groceries from Kroger on Clicklist. The ServUS lab allows residents to try out products like the Apple watch before buying and has a collaborative workspace where staff, students and tech companies can design new devices or envision new uses for existing technology.

Another goal is to create a health profile of residents who use connected technology, similar to IoT or, the internet of things. Maple Knoll's Andy Craig envisions things like blood pressure cuffs, heart monitors, scales, and exercise devices, all connected.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
This is a sample of what a health profile would look like.

"We want to build an ecosystem that supports diferent sensors that will allow us to collect data on residents, whether it's about the activities of daily living, the number of steps they take, or toileting or food habits and also things such as vitals," he says.

RoundTower's Wes Vandegriff's grandparents live at Maple Knoll. "What it means to them is quality of life with flexibility with certainty of an organization like Maple Knoll whose been doing this for a very long time to support the residents."

Maple Knoll envisions seniors benefiting from things like motion sensors, a smart doorbell, smart lighting, tablets and products like the Echo Show.