Future Changes in Senior Housing

There are significant changes you’re likely to see in senior housing in the next 10 years or so, based on need, a more assertive generation, and changing societal lifestyles. The baby boomer generation is more demanding and will push to do things in their own way. Retirement and senior living communities will have to respond to consumer demand by providing greater diversification of services including: (1) Greater variety of dining options and meal variety; (2) Greater emphasis on lifestyle and wellness programs; (3) More choices in apartment fixtures, designs and furnishings; and (4) More variety in payment structures. In addition, changes in technology will encompass all avenues of their lives, enabling them to live healthier and richer lives. Examples are: telehealth, a technology enabling health care providers to diagnose and interact with patients via computer screen; and senior-focused computer systems aimed at keeping long-term care residents happy and engaged, with webcam allowing greater contact and activities.

Not all boomers will have the same level of financial resources, such as pensions and paid-off mortgages, as previous generations, according to Maribeth Bersani, COO of Argentum, a national trade association for senior living providers. There will be different price points for various incomes and price levels with some people even considering a cross-country move due to senior living prices varying greatly by state. Bersani indicates that older adult communities of the future will trend toward becoming more attractive to the “young old” boomers who’ve reached their late 60s or early 70s and want to move into senior communities while they’re still healthy enough to enjoy the amenities.

A greater dependency on senior housing is brought about by changes in family structure. According to Robyn Stone, senior vice president for research at LeadingAge, there are reasons why family members in the future will likely have less availability to provide caregiving for aging loved ones. Reasons include the disruptive effects of divorce on family support networks among middle-aged and older people and women remaining in the labor force longer, restricting their family caregiving roles. An additional factor is the growth in the childless population of older adults. Stone says, “It’s clear that a decline in family caregivers will put more pressure on formal care providers.” For additional information go to: https://www.nextavenue.org