For the most part, Baby Boomers are doing what they have done all their lives; changing and improving the social and political landscape around them. Now that this innovative generation is approaching senior living, it is only natural to expect changes and innovations with Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC’s). Baby Boomers know how to affect change and their passion to make life better does not stop when they address retirement and senior living.
CCRC’s will continue to be viable and valuable options for most seniors but look for ongoing improvements and technology to play larger roles in senior caregiving and assisted living arrangements in 2016 and beyond.
Co-Housing and Harvard University
In 2014, Harvard University’s Joint Center on Housing Studies predicted that co-housing would become an increasingly popular choice for retiring Baby Boomers. In so many ways, co-housing seems appropriate for the generation that birthed communal living and yuppies.
Harvard cites important and appealing advantages to co-housing for seniors. Consider the merits of:
- Access to communal groups of caregivers
- Shared day-to-day activities
- Shared meal preparation
- Shared transport opportunities
- Shared cultural interests
- Reduced energy expenditures
Baby Boomers are inclined to be surprisingly practical, especially when co-housing reduces costs and eases lifestyle burdens. And, all Baby Boomers seem to agree there are few things more enjoyable than companionship. Look for co-housing in new CCRC’s to play a larger role in the overall senior living landscape.
Assisted Living Improvements
The 2016 landscape for assisted living communities is also undergoing steady alterations that represent real progress. If you have not visited an assisted living community recently, you are likely to notice pretty significant changes.
Today, assisted living communities have little resemblance to yesterday’s Nursing Homes or “Old Folks Homes.” 21st century assisted living communities are now designed to appeal to niche groups where seniors share similar interests and tastes. The concept is geared to make for more meaningful socialization.
With this type socialization in mind, it should not be a surprise to find assisted living communities with concentrations on activities like yoga, tai chi, book clubs as well as the traditional game nights, museum excursions and restaurant tours. Assisted living does not mean “uninterested” or “inactive.” These new concepts are supported by the attraction of co-housing.
But, we should also expect to see design changes in floor plans for assisted living residences. Architects are busily planning large walk-in closets, bigger bathrooms with walk-in tubs and showers, fully equipped kitchenettes and living areas that are conducive to co-housing socialization. Assisted living no longer means compromising comfort and practicality.
Person-Centered Assisted Living
The key driver for new trends in assisted living is a concept known throughout the industry as “person-centered assisted living.” This idea connects all the dots from unit design to co-housing to healthcare for persons residing in assisted living communities. Without question one of the identifiable challenges for Baby Boomers will be the need for tremendous growth in the sector of assisted living caregiving.
Today, there is a critical shortage of qualified and trained caregivers and with Baby Boomers entering the assisted living industry in intimidating numbers, look for massive job creation and improved pay for caregivers. Industry analysts suggest a shortage of qualified caregivers to exist through 2020.
Person-centered care has many benefits but without sufficient support personnel, Baby Boomers will overwhelm an already stressed industry. If you are planning your senior retirement living strategy, be sure to inquire about how the community expects to keep pace with added demand for caregivers.
Great socialization programs and assisted living floor plans mean little without ongoing recruitment and training of support staff. Making the right choices now will yield peace of mind down the road when need for assisted living is undeniable.