Senior quality of life for the almost 50 million people now over the age of 65 continues to improve. Advances in healthcare, disease delay and prevention, and technology are all allowing seniors to remain active and mentally engaged longer. As a result, senior activities and lifestyles are becoming more purpose-driven and forcing retirement housing to change for the better.
Just as many seniors are living fuller, longer lives, retirement housing is being forced to adapt, for the better, to meet these new demands. More seniors are working and living independently longer and as a result, they and their families are expecting more active housing communities.
This means big changes for the assisted living industry, and those changes are good for the industry, our aging population, and the families that love them.
What Changes Are Taking Place
Over the last decade, many industries have undergone what we often refer to as disruptive innovation, meaning that advances in technology necessarily lead to new approaches and opportunities that often challenge the status quo. This disruptive innovation has not passed by the retirement housing industry.
Instead, it’s challenging it for the better in two big ways – a rapidly growing population of seniors and a much larger role for technology in senior care.
For a variety of reasons our senior population, over the age of 65, is exploding. People are living longer and often healthier lives. This aging demographic is forecast to rise from today’s 50 million to over 98 million by 2060, with more than 19 million of that population over the age of 85.
Even with over 23,000 professionally managed senior living communities and nursing care communities around the country, we will need dramatic growth in the senior housing industry to meet the demand for more and better senior living communities.
The next big trend driving change for the better in retirement housing are big leaps in technology. These technology innovations are taking place along a broad spectrum of health care, housing, and delivery of care – reshaping how seniors live and experience retirement.
Though health care needs will increase as we age, how that care is delivered and experienced will be much different. You are likely to see more technology devices, interactive experiences, and open and social environments. All in all assisted living will continue to become more interactive and social communities in the future.
The best senior community housing and assisted living communities of the future will be very different from many that you see today.
How Senior Activities Have Changed
One of the big changes already afoot is the difference in senior activities and lifestyle that our aging population and their families expect from assisted living communities. Past generations often thought of their Golden Years, as they reached retirement age, as a time when they were “done” working, being involved in their communities, or being engaged in much of anything.
These sorts of things were often thought of as the realm of the younger generation. But, that’s changing. Seniors are staying engaged and productive in their careers, communities, and charitable causes well into traditional retirement years. And studies are showing that they may be staying healthier because of it.
Assisted living communities are going to have to accommodate this much more active and extended lifestyle.
“What do I want to do next?” This is the question many retirees today are asking themselves. And the answer is often to launch a second or third career to give their lives new purpose. Retirement housing expert Robert Kramer has predicted that 40% to 50% of senior community housing residents could be working in the future.
It’s forcing a larger shift in the outlook of senior living, now beginning to define itself in terms of engagement, enrichment, experience, and enjoyment. These days, more retirees are staying connected, not only in terms of a meaningful career but also as valued members of their communities and society.
Thanks to modern innovations, like senior-friendly communities, home health care, voice-activated technology, and online shopping and delivery services, more seniors are “aging in place,” meaning that they are able to stay in their own homes longer or transition to a community, like The Kensington Sierra Madre, that allows them to be live out their retirement years in one place, even as their health begins to diminish.
Even as seniors and families opt for a higher level of care, such as an assisted living community, these residents remain more engaged and connected within their communities.
Many of the best senior living communities encourage and support, intergenerational activities, where young and old are neighbors and participate in life enrichment programs that offer connection, socialization, and engagement.
How Retirement Housing Is Changing to Meet Needs
As more seniors seek these more active lifestyles and families demand it, the retirement housing industry is responding and adapting to these requirements.
Better Services and More Involved Leadership
Front and center is a notable emphasis on more and better services. Retirement and assisted living communities are increasing the staff to resident ratio and hiring more skilled and compassionate caregivers.
Leadership and management that is more actively involved in the senior living communities that they manage is a growing expectation. Long gone are the days when it is acceptable to manage these facilities as merely real estate investments – residents and their families are expecting exceptional communities in which to live out their golden years.
Specialized Living and Care Options
The industry is also adapting to customer demand by offering more specialized options when it comes to assisted living care.
This may include independent living options, where they are available and suited to an individual’s needs. Some notable examples are memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and rehabilitation services for residents with disabilities, injuries, or pain.
Many seniors and families looking into retirement housing also want a better selection of dining services and life enrichment activities, and retirement communities are adapting to meet these needs, too.
Enhanced Care Through Technology and Mobility of Services
The availability of remote health monitoring, wearables for senior care, and mobile healthcare access are other areas where expectations of assisted living are growing.
Technology is increasing assisting seniors with reminders to take their medicines, follow activity regimens, and monitor patients for the early onset of deteriorating health or capabilities.
Mobile healthcare options can enhance the quality of care bringing home health nursing, video conferencing with specialists health practitioners, and specialized staff at assisted living communities who are available to attend to seniors where they are.
How The Kensington Is Meeting Changing Needs
At The Kensington Sierra Madre, we are committed to meeting the changing needs of our residents and their families both now and in the future, while providing a senior quality of life experience that is engaging, enriching, and enjoyable.
From assisted living to memory care, our promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. Our team strives for excellence in our dining services and life enrichment senior activities that help meet the needs of our residents and their families in this time of change.
We know that making decisions related to assisted living and care can be challenging for individuals and their families, and we’re here to help.
If you have questions about the care our team at The Kensington Sierra Madre can provide, please don’t wait to get in touch with us.
Our team would love to get to know you and your loved one. We understand that each situation is different, and we have a breadth of resources and in-house expertise we would love to share with you along the journey of deciding if an assisted living and memory care community is the right fit for your loved one and family.