The pandemic has left its mark on the senior living industry — good and bad. As another new year begins, some industry experts share trends and predictions for what lies ahead.
January 6, 2022
By: Kimberly Bonvissuto
Technology likely is going to transform the competitive landscape for continuing care retirement / life plan communities and other long-term care settings, according to a senior living trends survey from professional services firm CLA.
Survey respondents indicated that new residents are moving in with higher expectations for and comfort with technology. Fifty-eight percent of operators participating in the research said they plan to invest in new technology in the next five years, whereas 37% indicated that they are in the process of or planning to develop custom programs and apps to leverage data.
K4Connect Chief Growth Officer Keith Stewart predicts that more technology industries will invest in aging services that serve the older adult population, including major device manufacturers, business-to-consumer electronics providers and wellness / lifestyle companies.
Stewart said “the line is blurring” between active adult / 55-plus and early levels of care, including independent living and aging in place at home. This blurring, she said, follows the wellness trends led by companies marketing fitness tracking devices and health technology.
Gig services — primarily ride-hailing and on-demand delivery — also have started to make their way into the older adult market. Stewart anticipates that these services will expand as the demographics shift further toward wealthy baby boomers with technology-related expectations.
K4Advisors Chief of Staff and Managing Partner Cindy Phillips foresees that technology will help operators find ways to engage and serve older adults in more ways before they make a move to senior living. Educating prospects on the benefits of the senior living lifestyle and beginning the onboarding process into a community are options.
“In 2022, we’ll see senior living communities start serving older adults in many ways before they move in, helping to build affinity from the start,” she said. “Communities could consider wellness offerings, virtual content invites to dining or special events, a marketplace or travel club, even priority with healthcare / short-term rehab.”
Phillips also anticipates that more communities will create a position dedicated to championing resident technology.
“COVID certainly cemented that technology is here to stay, and communities need to invest in resources to support it, accelerate it and integrate into activities and wellness programming,” she said. “We see this recognition of the importance of technology and adding some structure to how it is reviewed and implemented in communities with resident technology advisory groups, IT directors and the occasional chief information officer at the operator level.”
Head to McKnight’s to read more about 2022 industry predictions from industry experts.