Senior Living Business: Emerging Trends In CCRC Environments—2011

Research Identifies Choice, Wellness Programs, Partnerships, Tech...

 Since November 2008, Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging in Evanston, Illinois, in collaboration with the state affiliates of LeadingAge and the Assisted Living Federation of America, has conducted ongoing research to identify emerging trends in senior living. As of April 2011, about 1,000 senior living providers in 17 states have participated in the studies by completing surveys.

 The resulting research provides insight into how future generations will be served in senior living communities. It also indicates that larger communities (300-plus independent living units) are more likely to offer some of the more forward-thinking programs and services in the future. For the 10 most important senior living trends emerging in 2011, see the list on p. 8 of the May issue of Senior Living Business.

 In general, senior living providers can expect to see a more diverse, better educated group of older adults moving into their communities who will demand more choice and more value for their fees. “CCRCs will have to become places where people want to live vs. where they need to live,” explained Linda Hollinger-Smith, Vice President.

 Newer communities are also looking to draw in younger seniors. While the average move-in age for CCRCs remains about 82 years old, communities such as The Mather, which opened about a year ago in Evanston, are attracting younger seniors—60 to 70 year olds. “Their needs are quite different from the existing residents in our other communities who, because of their age, may require health services sooner,” she added. “The motivation of younger seniors, who may still be working or who volunteer in the greater community, to move into a CCRC is primarily to free themselves from the expense and maintenance involved in home ownership.”

Healthy living tops the list
 For all providers, healthy living is the priority for programs and services, as well as for common amenities, going forward, noted Susan Brecht, President of Brecht Associates, Inc. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “That doesn’t simply mean adding a fitness center or spa,” she said. “It means embracing a half-dozen elements of whole-person wellness: physical, spiritual, emotional, vocational, cultural, and nutritional.” As the GI Generation dies out and the Silents move in, consumers will begin to make judgments based on those kinds of values. And they’ll want to customize their own programs to make their activities more meaningful. “It’s all about individual choice,” she pointed out.

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