Senior healthcare is a rapidly evolving industry. New technology is presented all the time and seniors are presented with more options than ever. To keep up with trends, research is conducted by consumers and producers alike to stay up-to-date with information. As the retirement community demographics continue to change, senior care communities find themselves needing to adjust to vastly different needs.
As Baby Boomers enter retirement, senior care has become more about maintaining lifestyle and less about accommodating medical necessities. Senior care communities are changing their designs to better reflect independent living while offering services that seniors may not find otherwise. Newer communities are choosing a more home-like design with picturesque locations near shopping and entertainment; building plans focus on social activities and enhanced amenities, such as pool, gym, or spa. Seniors are also looking for larger rooms with walk-in closets and open floorplans that allow for entertaining. Even older communities are repurposing common spaces for more activities, events, and entertainment while focusing on enhanced décor and overall aesthetics.
Another important byproduct of the increased focus on personalization is the ability to hand pick services to meet every need. As a result, services are becoming custom-made with staff members focusing on residents as individuals. Many long-term care facilities maintain lower resident populations to allow the staff to provide more comprehensive care. Meals are also more diverse, often accommodating any dietary, nutritional, or personal preference. Customized services are also extending to in-home care with a significant increase in online resources and community programs intended to help seniors maintain independence as long as possible.
Baby Boomers have the experience of technology on their side. The internet affords seniors the opportunity to research their own care options, viewing thousands of listings all over the world with pictures, reviews, list of amenities, and more. In response, senior living facilities are offering extensive online resources through virtual tours, supportive articles, and communication options that can answer nearly any question. Residential facilities also commonly offer wireless internet, computer classes, and even video games for enhanced brain activity and physical movement. Some even offer tablets with preprogrammed apps and games intended to target different needs, like connecting with family or memory activities.
For seniors and care providers alike, a new wave of information has become available. Online medical records make an enormous difference in terms of medication management, file storage, or incompatible systems. Online systems also allow seniors to request services or schedule appointments with ease, thereby allowing healthcare professionals to provide more comprehensive care. These advances are also making in-home services more efficient and organized, allowing more time to focus on personal needs.
Wellness is about finding a balance between emotional, physical, spiritual, and social needs. A focus on wellness goes beyond diet and frequent exercises by acknowledging the importance of numerous lifestyle necessities. Healthy meals, a variety of physical activities, mental health services, and diverse entertainment is just the beginning. Senior communities encourage social interaction and commonly offer outings to malls, movie theatres, and other fun places. Residential care has become enticing compared to aging at home, as many are seduced by access to art classes, yoga, libraries, and more. Wellness programs also appear to be expanding past residential care communities, including a dramatic increase in adult daycares, in-home services, and services to the homebound.
Travel as an Option
Technology has also enabled more generations to travel and move around more than ever before. Although travel becomes increasingly difficult with age, seniors have become more willing to stay on the move. The RV industry is heavily dominated by seniors and aging individuals, among other industries. As seniors travel more and their nest stays or becomes empty, they have become more willing to let their assets go. That helps the housing industry, as people are willing to move even as they age. Affordable travel also means more housing options in terms of location. Seniors can now prioritize price or preference over proximity to family, thanks to affordable flights for the entire family.
The trends our Senior Care Team is seeing in senior care leads us to believe we have a lot to look forward to regarding competition among providers. Gone are the days of daunting years spent after retiring in a dull nursing home. Internet savvy seniors can participate in the process of relocating to a new setting with services and amenities that meet every need. Their researched input means less stress on the seniors and care providers in the long run. Overall, these changes mean more choices, convenience, and control as seniors can enhance their state of living.
Written by guest blogger Rebecca Everett Susko, SeniorAdvisor.com
Rebecca Everett Susko works for Senior Advisor who provides senior care reviews to help guide family and loved ones to find care that fits their needs. She's grown up in the senior care realm watching her family run a home hospice company. Rebecca comes from a background in senior care insurance and has since worked in internet marketing for all aspects of the senior care world.
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