The concept of senior living tends to elicit various responses from folks. Some, generally unfamiliar with the space, immediately think of “nursing homes.” Also, all types of senior living often get lumped into the mental picture of “nursing homes.” And traditionally, this comes with a host of negative connotations.
Upon hearing senior living, others might think fondly of the great community and care team who provided exceptional care for a loved one. Perspective on the space is shaped by personal experience - for better or for worse. One thing, however, is certain. The senior living model is constantly evolving. Whether it be transitional skilled nursing facilities, high-end assisted living communities, life plan communities, or even independent senior apartments, today’s standards will not be the same as the standards ten (or twenty, thirty, fifty, etc.) years from now.
Generally, not all age demographics and generations value the same things. Going further, everyone has their own preferences surrounding lifestyle and care. Just because one person enjoys a sense of community and interaction with others doesn’t mean that is the case for everyone.
As a digital marketing agency focused on the growth of the senior housing industry, Markentum is taking a look at the future of this industry and where we see it growing.
One idea combining the best of both worlds is Minka. These prefabricated homes allow older adults to maintain their independence in a space that is wholly their own. A true neighborhood or “community” of these homes could be built and a roving care team could assist at whatever level of care is needed within each residence. Residents have the option of preparing their own meals, or they could be delivered. Planned events, activities, and outings would foster a sense of community. At the end of the day, however, an individual would still have a house to go back to - their own home.
Another variation on the above is UpsideHoM, a concierge, white-glove service to assist older adults with apartment and care selection. The interesting piece, however, is in its intergenerational nature. This may not be suitable for those who are at a high level of acuity, but an upscale, tailored experience is provided for those who are against the more traditional senior living model.
For those who refuse senior living in any form, the concept of aging in place has been growing in popularity. Numerous companies help older adults retrofit their homes to improve safety and accessibility. Combine that with a care team via a home health agency, the proliferation of various delivery services for everyday supplies, and the rise of telehealth and the pieces are starting to come together to complete the aging in place puzzle.
Push for Palliative Care
The above concepts/companies help further the push for palliative care. Traditional senior living communities operate on a model where high occupancy leads to profitability.
"Approximately 90 million Americans are living with serious illness, and this number is expected to more than double over the next 25 years with the aging of the baby boomers." (Source: CAPC)
In addition, an increased number of healthy residents typically equates to better financials for the operators. Obviously, communities care about their residents and provide necessary care, but at the end of the day, it’s a real estate play. It sounds harsh, but it is the nature of the industry.
Residents and their families are currently demanding more than ever before. While it’s near impossible for a seamless transition to some form of senior living to occur after a loved one experiences a major life event, senior living communities are striving to make this process painless. Every person deserves a sense of agency over where they end up, and senior living communities are beginning to realize this. Making that choice easier by providing minimal disruption to lifestyle and habits has become a focus. To stand out as a viable option, all the comforts of home must be provided while minimizing the stress affiliated with change.
The big question - how, as a society, do we accomplish this cost-efficiently? As the demographics shift and those aged 65+ become a greater percentage of the population, how do we keep up with the desires of every person when finances dictate what is possible? It’s a question to ponder, and one that needs to be addressed with greater scrutiny over the years ahead. Because the last thing anyone wants is a reversion to the “nursing home” model of yesteryear…
If you're looking to add momentum to your senior living community's digital marketing efforts, we invite you to contact Markentum for a free evaluation today.