The Survey of Trends in Senior Living provides readers with a snapshot of current trends in programs, services, amenities, and environments. Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging surveyed 600 senior living organizations representing more than 1,000 communities from 15 states. From this wealth of industry insight, they were able to identify the top emerging trends in senior living communities.
The trends that surfaced indicate that, in order to be successful, senior living communities and care providers must anticipate and cater to the personal needs and interests of residents by offering options beyond the basics. There is also a need among communities for more comprehensive provision for in-home care.
The survey results reveal five top trends:
- Technology will be key to sustaining independent lifestyles among senior living residents. Facilities are expected to offer wireless Internet access and are providing computer training for future residents. Providers are also incorporating advanced, “smart home” technology to ensure a safe environment and high levels of self-sufficiency for residents.
- Senior living providers will expand services “beyond” their four walls to provide important social connection programs to older adults living in their own homes and community-dwelling adults, including adult day care programs, services to the homebound, and in-home care services.
- Long-term care is transforming to support person-directed care and meaningful relationships. Senior residences are beginning to adopt smaller, home-like environments, like the Green House® model which strives to “de-institutionalize” long-term care settings by offering self-contained residences for six to 10 older adults who receive comprehensive care by a self-managed work team and clinical support staff. Growth in this type of model is expected to dramatically increase over the next five years.
- Language, perceptions, and attitudes of care providers must be updated to reflect changing older adults’ needs and expectations. This might include changing the model of an “activity director” to that of a “life coach,” which focuses on working with customers who have higher, more self-actualizing expectations.
- Above all, consumers want choice and value. Older adults are demanding more choices, control, a redefinition of what community means, and convenience within and outside of the community. This includes financing options, customized programs, and access to on-demand services and engaging activities.