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Industry Trends: Senior Living

By Preconstruction Manager Casey Hughes

It’s an exciting time for the senior living industry as we are seeing a new generation, the baby boomers, make waves with their arrival into retirement. With this demographic shift along with most seniors leading longer and healthier lives, our clients are focusing more on urban housing with smart home technology, on-demand services, and an array of expanded amenities in more modern facilities. Here’s the top five trends that we’ve got our eyes on heading into 2020:

    The demand for traditional suburban, sprawling senior living communities is quickly diminishing in favor of urban sites. Seniors are looking for walkable properties with proximity to public transportation, healthcare, and entertainment options. In addition to being built in metro town centers, the management of these properties are being tasked with finding ways to help seniors stay connected to the community through intergenerational activities.
    Today, interpersonal relationships, social activities, and intellectual stimulation are a huge part of a typical baby boomer’s daily life. Designs are becoming more focused on integrating robust dining options, outdoor activity areas, and
    tons of gathering spaces into the plan. Residents want sophisticated, restaurant-style dining rooms with fresh daily menus instead of cafeteria style food service, along with flexible dining options. As for more amenity spaces, resistance
    pools, yoga studios, gyms, gardens, landscaped areas, alfresco dining, and fire pits are among resident favorites.
    The traditional look and feel of senior living communities is changing to incorporate more contemporary designs. Modern-day facades are being confused for recently built projects for college graduates. Any remaining holdovers from aged designs that may have been considered institutional, are being quickly eliminated. Interior colors and furnishings are warm and inviting, with natural light flooding the space.
    By integrating multi-purpose space into facilities, the same space can be used in different ways and for different events instead of needing a unique room for every activity. For example, instead of a library and a meeting room, a new design could include a coffee shop that can be used for those activities. This flexibility also flows into the residential units, with new unit types being delivered to market.
    Smart devices, like iPad’s are being given to residents, allowing them to schedule activities, or select dining options. Residents can also be seen wearing devices that track health and safety statistics. Management teams are finding new ways to use technology to improve the resident experience and telemedicine is allowing residents to avoid off-site appointments. New facilities are also being fitted with electronic key fobs for access, and package systems for Amazon deliveries.

The near future offers plenty of changes for the senior living industry with many new innovations and evolutions anticipated over the next decade. We look forward to building for the next generation!