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Auckland retirement village first to roll out game-changing new tech

Press Release

A new tablet to benefit the elderly is due to roll out across a retirement village in Remuera, Auckland, but it’s not the kind you swallow.

Rawhiti Estate is the first retirement village in the world to combine tablet-based technology and employee communication tools that help take the loneliness out of retirement and put the independence back in.

Residents can use the specially designed tablets to order meals, movies, create digital pottery and artwork, and play games. They can also be used to video call family, friends and make direct calls to care professionals through small, wearable staff communication devices called Vocera badges.

Rawhiti Estate General Manager Helen Martelli says they are one of the first retirement villages to connect resident tablets to the Vocera badges, which she says is a significant step forward for resident safety.

“Traditionally, when residents need to get a nurse’s attention, they push a button that rings through to the nurse’s station. Then they have to wait, without knowing whether the bell has been heard, or how soon someone will arrive.

“This can leave residents feeling vulnerable. We wanted to raise the bar and do things differently.

“With the tablet, residents simply touch the image of the nurse they wish to speak to, it immediately dials through to the communication device our carers wear at all times, and the resident can tell them exactly what they need.

“Our planning estimates show it will save almost 5,200 hours a year for our staff, freeing them up to spend more quality time with the residents,” says Mrs Martelli.

Rawhiti Estate, a BeGroup development, has 27 independent living apartments, and 68 rest home and hospital level care suites, including safe and secure memory loss units. Opening in mid-October, the village is designed to help maintain dignity in retirement care.

When researching the technology Mrs Martelli travelled to Australia to see it in action in retirement villages similar to Rawhiti Estate.

“I met a woman and her mother who suffered from short term memory loss which led to anxiety and panic attacks. To calm herself down she would talk to her daughter. Having the tablet meant that whenever she had an attack she could easily video call her daughter. Her anxiety and stress reduced over time and they saw improvements in her memory.”

The Office for Seniors and Statistics New Zealand projects that by 2038 more than 1.3 million New Zealanders will be aged 65 and older, up from almost 748,000 today. The number of people with dementia is also expected to grow significantly. Alzheimer’s New Zealand estimates more than 102,000 people will have dementia by 2030, up from an estimated 62,000 today.

Mrs Martelli believes technology has an important role to play in improving care for older people.

“Technology helps free up carer time and enables them to provide a stronger level of personal, connected care. We can see these trends emerging internationally and we are pleased to be able to introduce smarter systems to Rawhiti Estate,” she says.

Visit Rawhiti Estate’s listing here on Eldernet

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