If you’re a leader in a senior living community, you understand that clear communication is essential to providing the best experience for your residents. What if you work in a community where a large portion of the census experience language barriers? How can you make sure you and your staff understand your residents’ needs?
As with many senior living challenges, the language barrier can be solved with some ingenuity, creativity and an assist from purposeful technology. When combined with a translator app, Eversound’s wireless headphone system can help enhance communication for residents and staff in multilingual communities. It’s a cost-effective solution to a complex problem — and just one of the many uses for Eversound.
The Eversound system can also be a differentiator, allowing your community to welcome more new residents given your ability to accommodate clear communication for residents of diverse backgrounds. Let’s explore the complexity of a multilingual census and learn how Eversound can help.
The Challenges of a Multilingual Community
The United States continues to become more diverse and multilingual, and senior living communities are seeing the effects of this nationwide trend.
Almost 66 million Americans — that’s nearly 22% of the population — speak a language other than English at home, according to the United States Census Bureau. Census data also tells us that over 8% of the population doesn’t speak English “very well.”
There are obvious conversational difficulties that come with a multilingual census within your community. If most of your staff speaks only English, you’ll have difficulty communicating with residents that are more comfortable in a different language. The trickle-down effect of this communication gap can affect many areas of resident life:
Medical check-ins become much more difficult if there’s a language barrier between residents, physicians and nurses. Medical professionals need to have accurate descriptions of resident symptoms and have to give clear directions on aftercare, prescription dosage and more.
Anything less than crystal clear communication means that your residents could potentially be at risk for worsening conditions. Additionally, nursing staff and physicians may feel increasingly frustrated or burnt out by any communication gaps.
Language discrepancies can be especially difficult for residents undergoing memory care treatment. Non-English memory care patients have historically had difficulties in the medical system, including trouble with diagnosis and securing proper care.
Residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia require extra support and care, and any language barriers only make delivering that care more difficult.
Loneliness, fear or anxiety around social interactions can also manifest when a resident is isolated due to language barriers. A non-English speaker will likely have trouble connecting with their fellow residents and staff or lack the ability to voice their concerns.
Loneliness is a serious issue for senior living residents. Social isolation and poor relationships can lead to a 50% increased risk of dementia, 29% increased risk of heart disease, 32% increased risk of stroke and higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.
How to Use Eversound For Interpretation
So how does the Eversound system help communities address these challenges?
The Eversound system features user-friendly headphones and wireless transmitters that amplify sound and enable two-way communication between residents and staff, without the need for connection to WiFi or cellular networks. Eversound can be used by every department in your community and is a particularly helpful system for multilingual communities.
Eversound makes group communication much easier. Community leaders can also download any number of translation apps, such as the highly-rated Microsoft Translator, for little to no cost. Combining these two products gives leaders and staff a way to more effectively communicate across languages.
The Eversound team recently made an appearance at South Cove Manor Rehabilitation Center in Quincy, Massachusetts, a community in which 80% of the population speaks either Mandarin or Cantonese dialects. The CEO of that community spoke only English — and typically relied on interpreters to communicate. However, it wasn’t always possible or cost-effective to have an interpreter on site.
To problem solve, the Eversound team downloaded Microsoft Translator on a smartphone. They then plugged an Eversound transmitter, into the phone. When the CEO spoke in English, the app translated their words, and the residents heard the crystal clear Chinese/Cantonese translation through their Eversound headphones.
The community is now using the Eversound/Translator combination at Resident Council Meetings where the CEO or Executive Director need to address all residents — no interpreter needed! Staff members are also using the technology for one-on-one meetings, such as nurse check-ins.
Bridging the Communication Gap with Eversound
Combining Eversound with easy-to-use translator apps is a fantastic way to differentiate your community.
Multilingual residents will be able to communicate clearly with their fellow residents, staff and medical professionals. Community leaders can be confident that they’re addressing their residents’ needs and doing everything they can to prevent social isolation.
When you improve cross-language communication, you make your community more welcoming to new residents that might not be entirely comfortable speaking English.
Best of all? Eversound pays for itself: one net new rental will easily cover the $260/mo average cost for the basic Eversound package. Community leaders can rest assured that they’re making a sound investment.
Get in touch with the Eversound team today to learn how our system can help language barriers for your diverse senior living community.