What’s the next big thing for senior living?

Everyone’s talking about the “senior tsunami,” the “age wave,” the “rockers with walkers” (I made that one up!), but is long-term care ready for the programs, services, and care that this most unusual generation expects?

Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging wanted to determine the 10 top senior living trends that will meet the demands and desires of the Baby Boomer demographic. To gather this information, 600 senior living organizations representing 1,000 communities in 15 states responded to a Mather LifeWays survey. From the survey results, 10 emerging trends were identified.

These trends will give providers, designers, and developers food for thought on how to create the long-term care environments just around the bend. What features, amenities, and styles will these new residents require and demand? How do these residents and clients want to be treated? Will it be incumbent on providers to provide community outreach to those who don’t need, want, or have the money to afford a senior living environment?

Take, for instance, trend #1 on the Mather LifeWays list: Senior living residents are choosing to “age in place.” It’s one that all stakeholders should know by now—one that more than ever should be taken seriously. The upcoming older generation knows what it wants. Boomers will research all the opportunities and price points available to them. The Mather LifeWays survey indicates that Boomers will be looking for services and programs that help them maintain their current lifestyles—preferably at home. They want to stay right where they are and have services come to them if and when the time comes. Translation: Home care/home health services, onsite clinics, and geriatric assessment programs will be the vehicles to fulfill that trend.

The list goes on to cover the importance of maintaining health and wellness through specialized programs, services, and amenities. Technological advances will make “smart homes” the residences of choice. And because this generation is more than comfortable with communications technology, facility-wide wireless connectivity will become as essential as a microwave oven.

The bottom line is that this generation knows and expects value and a full menu of choices. Do you agree with the predicted trends? Have you noticed other relevant trends that might be peculiar to your organization or even your part of the country? Share your thoughts.

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