When the economy went bad, a lot of seniors delayed entry into assisted and independent living residences. You may have, too, with good reason. Now seniors seeking independent living have advanced needs and so traditional 55+ communities look more like assisted living residences. They offer services and care options a la carte to respond to their new, older residents.
Along with that trend, assisted living residences have moved toward skilled nursing status, providing staff and services to address advancing illnesses in residents, rather than lose those members to advanced care facilities.
Another trend is that today’s seniors are staying in the communities in which they lived and worked more often than before, rather than relocating to sunnier climes. Fewer are retiring to picturesque seaside locations far from family. Instead, local communities are developing programs, activities, and businesses around their aging population. Many seniors are finding they would rather experience retirement with the same people they worked alongside, raised their children near, and built a town with.
Hospitals are seeing this local trend and keeping pace with health residences and community outreach programs to shepherd seniors through their changing needs.
Maybe you’ve noticed your own town has more senior activities, more senior living residences, or more senior discounts at retailers and restaurants. Seniors are the new soccer moms: marketers, developers, and local government officials are all interested in courting this lively demographic and catering to their desires.
Staying Plugged In
With so many smart devices and web-savvy seniors, software developers are creating “apps” designed specifically to meet senior needs. These apps address needs that range from healthcare to shopping and provide convenience and connectivity never seen before.
Some healthcare providers are using remote monitoring to keep track of subscribers’ health changes. These initiatives help providers identify trends in a patient’s wellness and prompt doctors to prescribe preventative care. If checking your vitals every day and logging them with your doctor seems obnoxious, just imagine the emergencies you are probably preventing.
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) are another trend in senior technology. Remote health monitoring systems are not meant to provide emergency response. Instead, a PERS can help you alert assistance in case of a heart attack, a stroke, or a fall.
Some PERS monitor your environment and alert caregivers if your behaviors change. For example, the coffee pot stays on longer than usual or your bed never feels your weight at night; you may have fallen and can’t get up. Your environmental monitor can alert caregivers that something is wrong.
The most exciting part about this era in senior care is how much is being offered to residents. With competition at an all-time high, senior care residences are getting creative. One of the newest additions to the Independent living benefits list is continued learning. Have you ever wanted to take a college literature course? If you have a desire to learn, perhaps you can attend local partnering universities for reduced rates. Many education providers are adding Independent living residences to their clientele. Termed “lifelong learning,” these programs are more and more popular and may help you decide on a facility that is right for you.