As baby boomers approach their golden years, senior living operators are working harder than ever to battle against the stigmas associated with dated senior living and elderly care environments.
Residents and families are looking for more modern environments with a wider variety of amenities, a greater sense of community and more options for activity. Even though the market is demanding more, operators need to stay competitive and are constantly looking to find creative ways to meet the evolving needs of residents while managing their costs.
A great deal of discussion has focused on the expectations and even demands that the onslaught of new “retirees” will have and how these will need to be accommodated by providers seeking to capture a portion of that vast market. Everything from more spacious, well-appointed and tech-filled dwellings to wireless cafés to multiple dining choices to fitness centers complete with aquatic centers.
Beyond recognizing the importance of the wellness spectrum, it is essential to acknowledge that one of the primary determinants of a person’s wellbeing is to have a sense of purpose, of making a unique and valuable contribution to one’s world. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs applies equally to young and old, including senior living residents regardless of their health or ability level. Increasingly, elders either want or need to retain an occupation or avocation into “retirement”, whether to generate income or simply to feel useful. Providing outlets and resources for such endeavors has moved well beyond the traditional model of activities programming. True life engagement must be rooted in the recognition of each individual’s meaning and purpose.
Gone are the days when a senior living community could get by with offering residents a roof over their heads, three squares, bingo, arts & crafts, daily meds and basic assistance with ADLs. The “brave new world” of senior living in the 21st century is proving to be a new and somewhat unfamiliar landscape.
At ERDMAN, our vision is to Improve Every Life we touch. And while this prescription speaks primarily to the improved business objectives and design a of a community, none of this will be attainable without the dedication and devotion of the many people who are committed to enhancing the quality of life of each resident every day. The future is here; how can we start tackling the challenges facing our industry together?