If 70 is the new 50, then it’s not unusual to find 70-year-olds today acting the way their parents or grandparents acted at 50. That’s walking paths and gourmet kitchens, not shuffleboard and bingo.

These more independent-minded seniors will drive the way senior living looks in the next two decades. They are demanding more active-lifestyle communities, more options to meet the routines to which they’ve become accustomed, and more access to the shrinking world.

Of course, no future is complete without…the future. Smart homes, artificial intelligence and other new technologies will make much of this possible.

Consider six elements of senior living of the future:

1. The Continuum of Care Community

Older people are less apt to move than any other age cohort, but as they age, their needs may change. Continuum of care communities are becoming more popular every year because they offer seniors the opportunity to live the rest of their lives around people their age in one community, whether they are completely independent, require some assistance, or need skilled nursing care. These communities provide a host of options for active, independent seniors.

2. The Merger of Senior Living and Health Care

As more senior living communities offer health care services, the two industries are developing more partnerships, blurring the lines between the two. Aging Americans will be less likely to leave their homes to live in nursing homes than they will be to live in communities with skilled nursing care.

3. A Focus on Healthy Living

Wellness and lifelong learning are becoming the lynch-pin of many senior living communities, as seniors seek ways to maintain good physical and mental health, and continue stimulating their minds. Senior communities are increasingly offering a wide variety of opportunities to exercise mind, body and soul in much the same way other age adults do. In with water aerobics, Pilates and astronomy courses; out with mahjong, chair exercises and scam avoidance courses.

4. VR, AI and ‘Smart’ Everything

People retiring today have spent most of their careers working with computers and are not afraid of the virtual world. Expect to see them embracing the excitement of virtual reality entertainment and the convenience of artificial intelligence in their senior living communities. Roombas already clean rooms and smart TVs already connect residents to the internet. Soon enough “smart” utensils will help seniors with their activities of daily living like eating and tooth brushing.

Add to that the advance of smart speakers, which can change home conditions and convey information upon voice command. Expect senior living communities to provide smart home technology and wireless connectivity powering the smart speakers that relieve residents of having to get up to turn on the lights, hear tomorrow’s weather forecast or set the coffee maker.

5. Walkable Communities

An AARP survey found older Americans want their communities to be more pedestrian friendly – and bicycle friendly too. Why? Because today’s senior still walks and bikes.

6. A Place for the Kids and Grandkids

Increasingly, research shows, seniors eschew generational isolation tanks – they want to live in places that are friendly to people of all ages, including children. They’re seeking more common areas and inter-generational programming that attracts younger people too. Remember that today’s 75 year-olds gave us rock and roll, the same music still enjoyed by subsequent generations.

Nye Health Services offers six campus locations in Eastern Nebraska and one in Wyoming, structured to meet the needs of their residents from independent living to skilled nursing, memory care, and now home care services. A family-owned company with a rich history of connecting with the people they serve, Nye Health Services is open for visits anytime. Call 402.753.1400 to schedule an appointment at locations in Fremont, Lincoln, South Sioux City, Norfolk, or Jackson Hole, or visit NyeHealthServices.com for more information.