Integrating safety, security, communication and entertainment systems—the new “standard” in the modern CCRC

As future residents and staff consider options in senior living, they have new digital expectations for the environments where they live, work and play. People are accustomed to the speedy delivery of information, yet community operations cannot risk an insecure or unsupervised building.

Senior Living communities are now addressing the following digital expectations:

  • Risk Management – Fire alarm, building security cameras, door alarms, door access control, monitoring at-risk residents, incident documentation and record keeping
  • Community Staff – Voice-Over-IP (VOIP) network-based communication and secure data networks
  • Activity Directors – Digital signage announcing event schedules, meals and community news
  • Residents – Fast internet link to communicate with family, high-definition TV, wireless connectivity throughout common areas of building
  • Building Maintenance – HVAC and lighting control, equipment monitoring and troubleshooting

In the past, these systems did not receive much consideration in the early design phases of a community, and they were not given high priority on the larger list of building amenities.  An alarm contractor would connect smoke detectors.  Another vendor would sell and install a nurse or emergency call system.  The local cable television company would run wiring for the televisions.  Telephone cabling was coordinated with the phone company.  These individual components rarely connected with one another and were not considered as part of a larger picture.

Those days are gone. Designing and building a modern CCRC requires a comprehensive discussion of digital expectations and new technologies that couldn’t have been imagined just a few years ago.  Broadband internet and building-wide intranets are causing building operations, life-safety and information systems to converge.  Instead of relying on separate installers, we now look to integrators to bring control of digital systems right to the palm of our hand.  As more services become bundled, the coordination required and the combined initial cost is substantial enough to warrant discussion and decision-making as early in the process as possible to ensure that all members of the community are properly served.

In future articles, we’ll examine each of the following systems and outline strategies to successfully integrate them in your community.

  • Television placement
  • Cabling types
  • Wired or wireless access
  • Electrical power requirements
  • Network data jack locations
  • Head end space requirements for equipment and server