Times are changing at an ever increasing pace, and with it, offerings in senior housing are attempting
to keep pace. These days, seniors are delaying their move from independent to dependent living
by as many years as possible using a variety of means, and gaining more control over decisions regarding where they live and what facilities are at their disposal.
With 2016 came an influx of new assisted living complexes, meaning that the competition can be fierce and providers must cater to a growing set of needs. Most of the time people move into an assisted living community due to needing some help with medial care that they can no longer maintain alone, even with the help of nearby family and friends. Over the next 20 years, our population aged 85 and above will increase by 74%. Knowing what types of medical conditions are most prevalent in their nearby communities in order to accommodate them in the best way possible will give providers a decided edge against the competition.
One way in which an assisted living provider can take advantage of both an increasing use of technology by seniors (52% of seniors are online) and cater to their desire to remain in their own homes is to offer assistance outside the walls of the assisted living residence. This may mean offering home visits to help support medical needs or even reminding someone remotely via a tablet to take their medications or eat at mealtimes.A surprisingly high percentage of seniors (over 70%) regularly use some type of online social media, so communication via these tablets or phones is also a great way for staff to keep in touch with their charges. A rise in the use of electronic health records could help support a growing number of seniors, both living in and outside of the residence, without overwhelming staff. This an easy way to track the health care and condition of a patient and provides a reliable database for those who can relay this information to concerned family members in order to help make the best medial decisions possible. It also provides a benchmark for those patients living outside the residence for use in considering how many years they will be able to continue to enjoy independent life in their own home. By providing elder care within their own homes, a company starts a relationship with potential future tenants sometimes years before they need any space within the residence walls.
It says a lot when a healthy 78 year old today has a life expectancy of 15 years or more with a reasonable level of activity and nutrition, compared to that of someone living in a traditional assisted living residence, who can expect half of that number in years ahead of them. As our health is better maintained later into life, candidates for residency will demand more and more facilities to support better fitness and diet. As expectations increase, so too do the number of ways in which a facility can deliver to their residents. “One stop shopping” businesses are cropping up to help provide a variety of elements that our ageing communities are looking for, including healthy catered meals, hair dressing, social activities, and fitness equipment and classes. When a provider can outsource all of these things, it has the ability to focus on the health and needs of the residents and become far more streamlined in its care.
Environments within a facility are changing too, as providers move to make the homes less institutionalized and more community-centric. Some even offer independent condo living style situations with small team of care givers to manage any concerns for their designated group of 6-10 residents. Others offer single unit homes or a townhome set up. The variety of living accommodations has certainly changed drastically over the sterile and hospital-like state of residences from days gone by.
With each generation adding years on to life expectancy, we will certainly see an increase in versatility and options for elder care in the decades to come. Our seniors are raising their voices and the demand to be heard is creating an ever increasing shift in a sense of control even late into their golden years.
Article by Jon Reyes, a guest writer from Steam Shower Store. Jon is a specialist writer and has extensive knowledge in everything related to steam showers, saunas and hydrotherapy benefits.