The Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging conducted a survey of 600 senior living organizations to identify the top trends in senior living for 2011. The 600 organizations surveyed represent more than 1,000 senior living communities in 15 states. The study revealed trends that have been identified in the past, primarily relating to the aging Baby Boomers’ need for choice and independence. These trends will continue into 2011 and allow senior living providers to shape communities that meet not only seniors’ needs, but their wants as well.
Among the trends is a topic we addressed in a recent post: The potential for job creation as the population ages and needs increase for services and professionals that cater to senior health and senior lifestyles, which was also discussed by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. According to Mather LifeWays, “With a shortage of professionals trained in gerontology and geriatrics, recruiting and training qualified workers will be essential. At the same time, there is potential for new service businesses and growth in areas such as home care workers and transportation.”
Other trends center around the need for technology and a growing desire for aging-in-place. To accomodate this preference, senior living providers are becoming more person-focused, offering a portfolio of customized services and a variety of levels of care across the same campus–or even under the same roof. Facilites may expand their offerings to provide services to seniors who have chosen to reside in their own homes.
Other priorities include an increased focus on active living, with an increase in programs that help residents maintain their independence, such as fitness programs, wellness coaches and spa services. In the Mather survey, three out of ten providers surveyed already have some type of arrangement with a nearby college or university, a trend that will likely increase as seniors demand access to meaningful activities and intellectual stimulation. In fact, Mather LifeWays predicts that within the next decade, the number of senior living organizations that have partnerships with higher education institutions will increase to eight out of ten.
The final trend noted sums up the overall findings: “Above all, seniors want choices and value.” Mather points out that seniors’ demands for control and choices have resulted in the current landscape of senior living communities–there is no “one size fits all” community, and resident choice has overtaken the old concept that caregivers and health professionals know what is best for each resident. Instead, senior living is becoming resident-centered, where daily routines, activities and general lifestyle are created individually and each resident’s experience differs drastically from the next.
Read the findings from Mather LifeWays (courtesy of McKnight’s Long Term Care News)
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