By: Carol Marak | AssistedLivingFacilities.org
Serving tomorrow’s senior population.
As boomers approach retirement and aging, they bring higher expectations for the housing and healthcare industry, along with questionable ability to pay for them.
As senior housing and the healthcare industry examine boomer’s expectations, it forces companies to reassess how to provide costly services because some boomers’ have limited financial resources; both personal savings and entitlements.
Consumers and businesses must meet half way to balance the life span and shortage of funding problems.
The emerging trends in senior housing and design vary, because the retiring population carries multiple desires. Innovations like the wellness and cultural center, intergenerational programs and hospitality influence create dynamic new environments that offer enriched living for seniors and assorted revenue streams for providers.
Elements that change senior housing are restaurant style dining, new technology, social environments, lifelong learning and community engagement and integration; blending into independent living, skilled nursing and hospice.
The success lies in creating the most innovative and responsive solution for residents.
As the aging population expands and faces health challenges, there’s a demand for more wellness enhancement services and products.
Although the 2008 recession took its toll on the housing market, in 2013 a shift of growth for assisted living and other housing venues breathes fresh air.
Challenges of Retirement Savings
U.S. households headed by boomers between the ages of 55 and 64 have a median net worth of nearly $144,000-almost 8% lower than the median net worth of households headed by those aged 75-plus, according to data from the Census Bureau.
Future retirees express greater concerns that their savings are not enough to reduce challenges forced by increased living expenses and longer life expectancy. Financial planners continue to encourage saving for retirement and have for many years but it’s obvious that those plans have not been aggressive enough or executed very well by retirees.
Hospitality and Lifestyle
Goodbye to institutional living. Welcome in an alternative that relishes in hospitality for its residents that prefer leisure and personal preferences in everything they do. Since boomers are known for spending more on leisure activities than the previous generations, expect to see senior housing providers shift their thinking accordingly.
- Design and develop dynamic and imaginative environments rich in hospitality and conveniences.
- Senior housing shifts to a vibrancy that embrace:
- Larger residential apartments, adding more amenities
- Restaurant-style dining, cyber cafe with internet access, coffee bistros, urban grills and English pubs
- Cultural center with art and lifelong learning and educational programs to rekindle artistic talents
- Entertainment and social events
- Fraternization and Combining the Generations
- Fraternize with young people engages residents, strengthens community and inspires change
How Mixing Generations Adds Revenue for Providers
Through intergenerational programs that dispel age-related stereotypes, forge enriching relationships between young and old, and foster age-friendly communities that bring joy and involvement to residents. Instead of wasting away, residents mentor younger generations, and live in an environment that simulate normal family and community dynamics.
In intergenerational programs, there’s genuine power sharing. Youth enjoys being heard by adults-their ideas listened to more readily, and believed. Sometimes working with youth is the best antidote to despair.
Senior housing providers find effective and successful opportunities for new sources of revenue. Here’s how mixing generations adds revenue for providers:
- Day care programs for children and seniors to share activities
- K-3 schools in senior facilities
- Master planning for joint youth and senior centers
- Integrating the community
New Retiree Demands
Boomers are active adults and have a greater need for community interaction. Their needs include college campuses, volunteer programs, and remain active in the larger community, so maintaining outside ties are important.
Gone are the days of segregated assisted living communities. The new retiree demands:
- Community center with a library
- Senior center and activity programs
- Entertainment – restaurants, theaters, shopping
- Conveniences like banks and post offices
- Conference and educational centers for lifelong learning
- Clinical and physician services
Health and Wellness Programs
Seniors want good health and activity. They seek fitness, health education, rehabilitative therapy and other programs that support their independence and lifestyles.
Health and Wellness programs that include:
- Aquatic therapy with pools, saunas, and whirlpools
- Therapy programs fitness, rehabilitation and weight training
- Senior health and nutrition classes
- Physician services on-site
- Meditation gardens and walking trails
- Recreation and sport courts
Technology transforms care; how it’s given and received. Boomers are wired. Technology is essential and integral to how and where they live. They depend on technology for social connections, ease and wellness.
The new aging senior rely on tech sensors to identify health issues before they grow larger and to better stay connected with family members and health care professionals.
Digital innovations make it possible for residents and patients to use portable devices to access medical information, monitor vital signs, take tests at home and carry out other tasks. Healthcare enters the age of personal empowerment shifting control and power from hospitals, doctors and other caregivers to patients, leading to health care improvements.
Leading Senior Housing Technology Changes
- Nurses monitor residents through closed circuit television
- Nurse stations to charting stations,
- Nurses are mobile by using iPhones and iPads to actively engage with residents
- Fall management
- Cyber cafe with Wi-Fi allow residents to connect with family
- Conference rooms allow residents to attend events and educational opportunities around the globe
- Online integrated billing
- Customer relationship management Operations management
Mobility and Healthcare Trends
Residents want mobility and assistive technologies help meet their needs. From telehealth to iPad and mobile health applications, tech products and services for older adults and individuals with disabilities will meet these demands.
- Reduction in long-term stays
- Repositioning care focus to short-term stays – sub-acute or rehabilitation
- Specialty care
- Cognitive and behavior support
- Hospice to support needs of residents and families
Institutional style housing gives way to resident driven social models, inviting home spaces, pampering and spa-like therapy, active living and learning programs, walking trails, community involvement, and recreational options.
The repositioning of assisted living communities look for ways to blend the boomer expectations with their financial, operational and internal needs of its residents.
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