Fellowship Square-Mesa leads the way in tech innovation–Implements interactive livestreaming and improves resident moods by over 50%
Located in Mesa, Arizona, Fellowship Square-Mesa is home to over 340 residents and offers Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care assistance to help adults age with dignity and live an active and purposeful life. Fellowship Square-Mesa has been the recipient of numerous awards over the years including, the prestigious “Best 2018 Tribune” award for Best Senior Living in Mesa, “Best of Mesa” award for the last six years and the 2016 “Leading Age Arizona Innovation in Technology” award.
A mission-driven organization, Fellowship Square-Mesa is headed by Jon Scott Williams who has been the visionary behind the not-for-profit organization since day one in 1997 and its Center of Aging Excellence. Fellowship Square-Mesa is on the cutting edge of experimentation with technology. Over the years it has partnered with various innovative startups and organizations to design, develop and implement accessible technologies to serve older adults.
“Fellowship Square-Mesa is serious about innovation and how it can help to meet the needs of a changing world. I strongly believe that spending on technology that improves residents’ lives should be viewed as an investment rather than an expense. It is time that senior living providers think strategically about the potential returns and long-term benefits as the more technologically savy adults start to occupy senior housing.” Says Williams. The entrepreneur believes that many senior living providers lack an effective innovation strategy, but Front Porch is an exception, thanks to Olson’s work as the non-profit’s chief innovation and technology officer.
Fellowship Square-Mesa’s Goals
Fellowship Square-Mesa noticed that with age several of their assisted living residents decreased their participation in social activities. Reasons ranged from perceived barriers to real barriers. For example, adults start to experience mobility disabilities, mild cognitive disabilities, routine illnesses or exhaustion, all of which are real barriers to movement and prevent them from leaving their room. On the other than residents experience perceived barriers such feelings of frailty or feelings of inadequacy in a peer setting. These residents are more inclined to stay in their rooms; rarely attend social events and barely interact with their neighbors except during mealtime.
For instance, one resident who actively socialized, attended most resident events, started to stay away from public gatherings. When asked by the staff, she said felt she wasn’t as “smart” as the rest and did not want to attend activities where she felt she was “slowing” the group. Another resident who loves exercise said “there are days when I’m just not feeling too good to get out of the room and come upstairs to the activities room. But I know I need to do some form of exercise to keep myself active and strong.”
There was simply no reliable, convenient or economical way to engage these residents. The community tried to resolve the problem by bringing in more volunteers, increasing the number of staff one-on-one room visits. But not only does this add pressure to the staff but finding reliable volunteers is difficult and time consuming.
So, recognizing that inactivity and a lack of socialization puts these residents at a serious risk of negative health impacts, Fellowship Square-Mesa decided to partner with televeda to implement a program that would re-engage residents based on their abilities and find a way to provide socialization opportunities to those who are room-bound. “It is absolutely critical to spot signs of isolation and loneliness in people, and to take measurable steps to combat it early, because it can become a serious hazard not only to one’s mental health but physical health, too.” said Williams.
To meet its goals, Fellowship Square-Mesa implemented televeda’s Empowered Living program—a combination of in-person and live online socialization classes. Part low-impact exercises, part brain games–the classes quickly transformed even the most reluctant residents into believers. Over a 16-week period, televeda hosted its Empowered Living classes once a week onsite at the Fellowship Square-Mesa and all classes were broadcasted live via televeda’s 2-way interactive livestreaming platform allowing every assisted living resident to join the live, interactive classes from the comfort of their rooms. Because the classes are video-based room-bound residents could see, hear and talk with other older adults.
televeda conducted several training and onboarding sessions to help every resident become familiar with the technology. Data was collected before, during and after implementation of the program. Residents participated in group classes and those who were otherwise unable or unwilling to leave their rooms attended the classes using their smart devices. “By no means is our platform meant to replace in-person interaction. We just want to help democratize opportunities for socialization by making it accessible to everyone, regardless of your abilities.” said Shruti Gurudanti, Co-Founder of televeda.
- Over 61% of the residents at Fellowship Square-Mesa actively socialized and participated regularly in the Empowered Living classes. With televeda’s Empowered Living, residents demonstrated improvements in energy, emotional wellbeing, social functioning, mood and higher quality relationships with each other.
- Over 33% reported improvement in energy.
- Over 44% reported improvement in emotional wellbeing.
- Over 55% reported an overall improvement in general health.
- Over 98% of residents reported improvement in moods post-class. Moods improved by over 54%.
Ms. Evelyn Stillion praised the Empowered Living platform for being extremely accessible. She said “This technology is very easy to use. I was able to do it all by myself. The days when I am not feeling well enough to leave my room, I can still exercise from my room. This has been really helpful.”
Ms. Bethel Hatch enjoyed the brain games portion of the classes and commented “It’s different and I love that it challenges my mind.”
Due to the easy-to-follow programming and accessible platform 66% of those residents who were reported at risk of isolation and loneliness and who preferred to stay in their rooms now socialized and interacted with the community from the place they felt most comfortable—their home.
Staff has reported that the Empowered Living members have formed a strong community outside of the class. Residents have forged new friendships, they have meals together in the dining hall, and during the Holidays, they group together in the lobby area and often start a dance party. “At Fellowship, we have implemented a variety of social programs designed to address the prevalence of isolation. But with technological interventions it is important to further explore how new forms of connectivity can be leveraged to further improve the quality of life of people.” emphasized Williams.
This forward-thinking community can be reach by email: [email protected] or calling (888) 460-2182.