With baby boomers continuing to age into their 60s and beyond, senior living is one of the fastest-growing markets in the country. However, as the market expands, so will the number of facilities and organizations vying to serve this burgeoning demographic. The result is that competition is only growing fiercer, and providers must work even harder to hold onto their share of this increasingly crowded space.
But how will they do this? What can they do to set their senior living community apart from the competition? We dug deeper into the data and identified six trends that are likely to shape the industry’s future to find an answer. These trends, which include the embrace of technology, increasingly diverse demographics and new approaches to healthcare, could have a major impact on how providers go about doing business in the years ahead.
- Aging Baby Boomers Continue to Drive Growth
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are currently 46 and 64 years old. When this group turns 65, they can begin to take advantage of Medicare. In the meantime, until they are 65, baby boomers continue to age into their 60s, but many do not yet have a senior-living solution in Place. As they go through their 60s, they will become increasingly aware of their need for senior living as they have more and more difficulty getting around on their own and having the right care in Place when they need it most.
- Dependent-Care Management Companies Grow in Popularity
Another trend we’ll see continue in 2022 is dependent-care management companies, which provide long-term care for the elderly or disabled outside of a traditional facility setting. These companies are fundamentally changing the way we think about senior care by removing it from institutions – making it accessible to more people – and making it more convenient for families to remain in their homes as long as possible.
- Personalized, self-directed care
Seniors will be able to have more control over the services they receive based on their health and wellness needs, creating a more personalized experience. This shift due to an ageing population will require healthcare providers to adapt to more of a “care manager” approach rather than a “provider” model. Case in point, a new model in senior living called “micro-living”, is a change that is more patient-centric and better accommodates individualized care needs. Micro living communities are typically smaller and more focused, providing deeper care services. They also focus on the relationships between caregivers and residents rather than the performed tasks. In addition, they have a stronger presence of professionals such as nurses and health coaches, who help customize plans of care for each resident.
- New approaches to healthcare.
The ageing of the baby boomer generation and the increasing popularity of home care among seniors will bring about new opportunities for providers to serve seniors in their own homes. In addition, the ageing process itself is also changing—seniors are now living healthier and longer than ever before.
Today’s seniors are more active and mobile, so facilities need to ensure that their common areas, such as dining areas, have a modern and comfortable look and feel. Lifestyle centres are more flexible in design than stand-alone facilities. They can be located in different areas of a city or town based on demand, making them more convenient for seniors who want to stay independent for as long as possible. In addition, ageing in Place enables seniors to maintain healthier, independent lifestyles. The community can be designed with special features that encourage residents to remain active and mobile, including outdoor spaces, light-filled social areas and access to retail shops.
- The Connected Lifestyle
In 2022, you can expect the integration of the internet of things (IoT) will be commonplace in senior living. Consumers will expect to control their smart homes and health devices with universal remote controls, mobile apps and voice commands.
While these technologies will be commonplace, they will serve a greater purpose than convenience: they’ll help to promote independence, safety and security for seniors.
- Online Assistant Services for Seniors & Caregivers
As the volume of seniors and their caregivers grows year after year, so does the need for safe and secure online assistant services. With this in mind, we believe that many seniors are ready to adopt new technologies that will help them strengthen their independence and improve their quality of life. We predict that more than a third of seniors will use some sort of online assistant service in the next 5 years. The white paper published by Software Advice highlights a rise in the adoption of tablets, smartphones, medical monitoring systems, prescription medication management apps, virtual healthcare assistants, telemedicine, disease risk management apps and wearable fitness trackers between 2017-2022. As internet connectivity becomes more ubiquitous, immersing in a digital lifestyle will be a lot easier, leading to an increase in demand for products that cater to the needs of elderly individuals.
- Aging in Place
Ageing in Place allows seniors to age in their own home, with all the necessary technology and facilities to help them live a comfortable, independent lifestyle through to their last day.
Widely considered a privilege, Aging in Place will become a necessity as the world’s population ages and space continues to be at a premium.
With this, senior living facilities will become less like nursing homes and more like urban apartments with all the necessary amenities and technology embedded in each unit.
- Senior living will be “centres of activity.”
According to Perkins+Will’s newest Design Intelligence study, the most in-demand trend for senior living will be “centers of activity,” where apartments for seniors are mixed with retail stores, services, and fitness centres. Designers can create appealing environments that support a healthy lifestyle by rethinking how healthcare and wellness are delivered to seniors. They’ll make better use of communal areas, courtyards, and outdoor spaces to do so. This approach also helps create interactive environments where social interactions are common, helping stimulate mental acuity and encourage a sense of community.
Today’s senior living communities are no longer just a place to live—they’re a place to thrive.
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