This week, Bloom had the opportunity to speak with the CEO of Touchtown, Ted Teele, to learn more about his company and the value they provide for older adults.
Tell us about Touchtown.
Touchtown is the number one company in senior living engagement for residents, staff, family members, and prospects. We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary next year, and have a pretty unique culture. We have the experience of an established organization and expertise in the senior living industry, but we also maintain a culture of collaboration, excitement, and passion. Every single person in the company is connected to our mission: to help seniors to live happier and healthier lives.
There are countless studies that show that more engaged residents are happier and live significantly longer than residents who are lonely and disengaged. Our products help seniors to stay connected to their community, such as helping them to search for friends in a directory, click on their phone number, and call them to set up a time to play chess. They can look to see what movies are playing at the cinema or check out the dining menus for the day.
Seniors have a wide range of acuity, and so they require various types of technology. For the more independent seniors, Touchtown has interactive apps that are available for smartphones, tablets, and desktop browsers. Residents have dining menus, directories, photos, and more, right at their fingertips. We also provide non-interactive technology such as an in-room television channel, digital signage, and website links with current activities, dining menus, photos, and announcements. We have speech-enabled television channels for those with vision loss, too.
What was your inspiration for creating this platform?
I took over Touchtown about two years ago from a friend of mine, Jeff Pepper. Jeff’s father was the inspiration for Touchtown. He was living in a community and was becoming isolated. After seeing this, Jeff thought he could create a technology to make life better – and he did.
Learn more about the value of Touchtown by visiting their website, here.
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Out of all the features available on Touchtown, what are you most proud of?
I’m proud of our capability to help larger providers. With our Enterprise Content Manager, staff members located at a corporate office can create and send content to the local communities. This corporate communication seamlessly blends with the content at each community.
I’m also proud of how easy our software is for staff members to use. Staff members in senior living are so busy, and they need time to spend caring for residents, not making and updating posters. Our software is cloud-based. Staff can create slides from anywhere with Internet, even at home in their pajamas or at the beach on vacation. We have over 5,000 professionally-design slides that they can choose from with keyword recognition. Then they just “set it and forget it.”
What kind of value do you find Touchtown brings most?
Touchtown provides value to senior living in three ways. The first way is that we help to improve residents’ quality of life and happiness. This has been our mission for almost two years.
In addition to engaging residents, Touchtown is a powerful tool for employee communication. We make it easy for a CEO or HR Director to broadcast important messages such as an employee of the month, paperwork reminders, or inspirational quotes to everyone in the company. The senior living industry has a huge turnover rate of 42.5%, which is extremely costly for providers.
The third way is that we can help increase occupancy by helping prospective new residents to connect and engage with the community. We help them to connect, which makes them want to move in earlier. Then they can take advantage of everything that the community has to offer before they really need care.
Do you have a favorite success story?
There are many stories. I love meeting and seeing seniors using our products. One example is of Bob, a WW2 veteran, living in a senior living community in Florida. Staff said that Bob was the first resident in their offices when they announced Touchtown. “There is no way I’m using it [Touchtown]. I’m never using a computer,” Bob said. But the minute they got a Touchtown kiosk in their lobby he was over there poking around. For the next few weeks, Bob was at the kiosk every day. He started engaging more in the community and coming to the dining room more often. One staff member said, “He always knows the menu specials and if there is clam chowder, he is there.” A few more weeks passed when Bob came to the staff and this time he just said, “I’m ready.” When Bob logged in with his own username, he was just amazed by the amount of information in Community Apps. He was in heaven. Bob is just one of Touchtown’s starfish stories and proof of how we can make a difference.
Another success story is from a larger community located in the south-east United States. By putting motivational quotes and videos on the digital signage in the community, they were able to help employees to feel more connected to the mission and boost morale.
Tell us something about yourself that people may not know.
I have six kids, I’ve been to 62 countries, and as a child, I lived in Afghanistan and often flew back and forth to Washington, DC by myself.
Interested in learning more about how Touchtown can increase resident engagement? Check out their website here.