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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

4 Ways to connect with technology

Sharon K. Brothers, MSW

Activities directors, caregivers, and healthcare professionals,are you a Facebook addict yet? Notice I added "yet" to the question? Even my 76 year old mom has decided she's got to get onto Facebook - all her grandkids, nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives keep telling her, "I put my pictures on Facebook!"

I joined a year or so ago, after I realized it was the only way I'd be able to keep up with my kids. They travel the globe and, way before they email their mom, they post their pictures and their adventures on Facebook for all their friends to see.

So now I'm an avid Facebook user, with 82 "friends" that include my relative, my kids' friends and several grade and high-school friends I'm only now reconnecting with (that's fun!).

Technology can be a ton of fun when it fills a need we have. In case of Facebook, technology helps us fill a social need to stay connected - or get re-connected.

In business, it seems to me that we've used technology begrudgingly rather than with the excitement of your first Facebook page.

Maybe we've been off the mark. Maybe it's time to look for ways to use technology to increase our business and social connectedness - and have some fun while we're at it! Consider these ideas:

Your website. Does your website increase your connectedness with the public? Do you tell your story and offer ways for people to contact you? Many company websites today avoid publishing email addresses to keep out unwanted emails, but that's a barrier to connectedness. Like Facebook, your website should be updated often, changing content and images to keep it interesting and alive. It should also connect real people (you and your team) with real people (your clients and prospects).

Email. Are you using email to stay connected with others? If you're reading this via email, you see one of the tools we use to keep in touch with our clients and prospects: subscription emailing through Constant Contact, one of the leading providers of this service (scroll down to the bottom to set up your own free trial). It's easy to use, and very affordable. It doesn't allow you to spam people, but it does give you a very user-friendly tool for staying in touch with a large group of individuals (Clients? Prospects? You decide).

Technology in Operations. Are you using technology to help you manage operations? To track employee hours related to client needs, and to keep care plans and assignments updated? Companies like HealthMEDX (a new partner of ours), Vigilan, and ALWizard are excellent resources. Used correctly, they can not only help you get a detailed picture of your operations but can actually enhance your revenue as you track service needs and staffing more closely. Rather than costing you money, they can actually make you money - something to consider closely right now.

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professinals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here are more interesting dementia articles and activities,

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