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3 Elements of the Modern Senior Living Community (and Why Older Adults Want Them)

From wellness-focused models to robot assistants, the senior living experience has evolved in recent years. It’s modern. But which aspects of this modern senior living are actually improving resident life? Which aspects are attracting older adults to your community?

To answer this question, we looked at what various communities that partner with us are doing to offer a modern senior living experience. Here are the three most common elements we saw – and why they’re so beneficial to your community members.

1. Multigenerational Relationship Building

Numerous studies highlight the benefits of multigenerational relationships – for everyone, not just older adults. A modern senior living community makes this level of social interaction a priority. (This is especially important given the current loneliness epidemic adults are facing in the US.)

There are a few tangible ways you can deliver this multigenerational social engagement:

  1. Establish a volunteer program for middle and high school students. This sort of program helps ensure that your community is filled with people from various generations. There’s a diversity of thought and experience, which can help promote intellectual and social wellness. Plus, a volunteer program can help you mitigate the effects of the ongoing staffing shortage.
  2. Offer easy ways for residents to text and video conference loved ones. We learned in 2020 how harmful social isolation is – and how easy it is for residents to become isolated from their loved ones. A modern senior living community doesn’t just offer, for instance, Zoom accounts to every resident. It adopts easy-to-use tech that bridges communication gaps, while also offering comprehensive tech training classes. In short, a modern senior living community makes communication a priority.
  3. Program various onsite events for residents, families, friends, and neighbors. Want to get folks from different generations in your community? Invite them. Planning a Fourth of July cookout? Invite residents’ loved ones. Invite friends. Invite neighboring businesses and organizations. A modern senior living community emphasizes the “community” part of its name.

There are plenty of other ways you can cultivate multigenerational relationships. These are just a few options. But the larger takeaway here is that a modern senior living community acknowledges the main draw of city living for today’s (and tomorrow’s) older adults – more opportunities for social interaction – and makes that a core feature of community life.

2. Easy-to-Use Community Amenities

Your senior living community may offer three-meal dining options with plenty of variety. It may offer onsite maintenance services. It may even offer a 24 / 7 concierge service.

But none of these amenities can deliver their full value if they’re difficult for residents to access. As an example, here’s what onsite maintenance might be like for residents when their community doesn’t offer an easy way for them to file or track work orders:

  1. An IL resident is dealing with a leaky faucet, so they call the front desk to place a work order.
  2. The front desk staff member tells the resident that they’ll file the work order.
  3. The staff member files the work order.
  4. The onsite maintenance team gets the order.
  5. One day goes by. The resident calls the front desk for an update.
  6. The front desk staff member calls the maintenance team. No one answers.
  7. The front desk staff tells the resident they’ll call back once they’ve heard from the maintenance team.
  8. Another day goes by. The resident calls again.
  9. The staff member calls maintenance. Maintenance says they’ll send someone later that afternoon.
  10. The staff member relays this to the resident.

That’s not even where the process necessarily ends. What if maintenance needs to order a replacement part that warrants a longer timeline?

This back and forth isn’t just frustrating for the resident; it’s also time-consuming for the staff. It takes an amenity – onsite maintenance – and turns it into a chore. A modern senior living community offers technology or integrations that let residents independently file and track work orders.

These time-savers should extend to other amenities and services, as well. Dining menus should be accessible online, and residents should have a way to independently place orders ahead of time. Residents should be able to check whether mail was delivered with a simple “Hey Alexa, did I receive any mail today?”. Event reservations should happen in the same place where residents view them: on their engagement platform or SmartAging™ dashboard.

Does this mean staff shouldn’t be there to help residents? Not at all. But the fact of the matter is this: nobody wants to play phone tag. When you give residents the tools to manage their own lives, you’re giving them the autonomy they look for when joining a senior living community.

3. Personalized Life Enrichment Programs

For years, life enrichment programs that target various dimensions of wellness have been the gold standard – the pinnacle of activities programming. And that’s still true in some ways. For your whole community to participate in your activities, you need to plan activities that can engage your whole community. But a modern senior living experience doesn’t just offer variety; it also offers personalization.

Older adults don’t want to spend precious time finding the perfect activity, just like you don’t want to endlessly browse Netflix for the perfect movie. And that comparison makes even more sense when you consider how many activites a senior living community may program. Roland Park Place, for example, “organized more than 160 concerts” in 2023. And that was on top of the hundreds of onsite events the community programmed.

Technology like Smart Aging™ helps residents easily find the right event for them. Residents can, for instance, log in to their Smart Aging™ dashboard and instantly see recommended events that fit their lifestyle and preferences. A resident who’s previously attended an art museum may see a watercolor workshop pop up as one of their recommended activities.

The benefit: residents can view, with one click, all of the life enrichment information that’s most important to them. They save time so they can spend more of it actually doing the things they love.

Modern Senior Living Is Personalized Senior Living

Modern senior living isn’t about cramming as much technological innovation into your community that you can. It’s about focusing even more on the resident experience. Today’s and tomorrow’s older adults use technology to simplify their own lives. They expect their senior living providers to offer it.

A modern senior living community exceeds that expectation. But it doesn’t offer technology. That’s not the goal. Modern senior living communities offer time savings. They offer independence. They offer greater social interaction. Are those benefits achieved with technology? In many cases, yes. But the goal isn’t “adopt more tech,” it’s “make residents’ lives better via personalization.”Want to offer your residents a modern senior living experience? Grab some time with us!

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