Karen Adams, Vice President of Gerontological Services, Inc., one of the foremost experts in planning for older adult programs and facilities, looks at how coming trends will shape the landscape of senior living communities and offers advice on how to prepare for and plan to take advantage of these trends.
In the coming years, Adams says we will see market expectations and demands change radically for the adoption of tech solutions. Senior living communities will use more technology to maintain a competitive advantage. Residents and family members will have higher expectations of high-tech offerings in communities. Look for technologies to expand beyond accounting, financials and monitoring to delivering measurable improvements and efficiencies in the areas of wellness, engagement, dining, security and energy.
Changing service models
According to Adams, “Residents seek choice and autonomy in what they purchase.” Accordingly we will see new and emerging models for providing housing with services where services are imported rather than a core component of the community.
Demand for autonomy
The new cohort of the aging population will demand autonomy and choice in the services they purchase, but many will seek assistance in identifying the options and the best combinations to meet their needs.
Rise of the a la carte service menu
As services are imported, we’ll see a move away from the provision of inclusive services and a one-size-fits-all fee to a model that offers individual services to meet the specific needs of each resident. An a la carte menu that offers add-ons just may become a more prevalent approach.
Evolution of community based service models
As technology developers increasingly recognize and understand the dynamics of the growing aging markets, and as people age in place longer, new community based service models will continue to emerge.
The future is now
With this in mind, how can communities plan for these coming changes?
Adams suggests senior living communities be forward thinking about how they can use technology to:
- Engage the consumer in defining housing and service programs
- Deliver information and services
- Meet the expectations of their residents
- Make operations more efficient
Adopt a strategic technology plan
Put in place a strategic technology plan, that considers technology needs all across departments. Always remember that technology is a tool to accomplish the objectives of the organization, the staff and the resident/consumer.
Meet your residents’ demands for technology solutions
As the next generation of the aging moves into senior living communities they will bring their life-experiences—and their use of technology—with them. They will continue to grow with new technologies. The same people who bank, make travel arrangements, and conduct research online will want access to their senior living bills and financial data. They will want the ability to register and pay for events online as well.
Turn the front desk into a help desk
Prepare to move away from pencil and paper solutions as the expectations for online functionality will continue to grow. That means seniors will want to schedule a trip, an event, a hair appointment online, via a “virtual” front desk.
Accommodate a need for speed
The demand for technology services and online access means your IT department must supply the bandwidth required for residents to access all their media online, across multiple devices.
As you explore how these trends will impact your business, engage with one of our Senior Living Specialists who can work with you and your company to identify how technology can impact your service delivery, and ultimately, your bottom line. Contact a Senior Living Specialist at (800) 450-0970 or send us an email.