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.
For people who grew up with rotary phones, encyclopedia sets and the Sears Roebuck catalog, today’s technology can be disorienting. Many adults – not just seniors – turn up their noses at social media and the ubiquity of phones.
While technology can be mindless, anti-social and all-consuming, it also confers plenty of benefits on those who use it to improve their lives. In fact, there are numerous technological advancements that can make life easier for seniors.
Here are six of them:
1. Video Chatting
If the grandkids can’t make it across the country to visit grandma with their new baby, at least they can show their faces using the consumer-friendly technology of video chatting. Skype and Facetime are the best known of the video chatting services, all of which allow video and audio connections between users no matter the distance. It’s not a gimmick; it’s a great advancement of particular value to the elderly who aren’t as mobile.
2. High-Tech Hearing Aids
The sound is better and the aesthetics are solved with today’s hearing aids, which can be made so small, thanks to the miniaturization of the electronics, that they’re essentially unnoticeable. Add wireless transmission and you have crystal clear sound. Hearing is easier than ever for today’s seniors.
3. Personal Emergency Response Systems
No more yelling that you’ve fallen and can’t get up, like a widely-mocked late night TV commercial. Today’s emergency response systems can be worn inconspicuously on the wrist or on a belt, and alerted with the touch of a button, sending out the exact location of the wearer. Best of all, it’s mobile, so grandpa has backup no matter where he goes.
4. Tablets and E-Readers
To read a book, seniors with vision issues used to have to travel to the library and take out a large print book, if there was one on the shelves that they wanted to read. Today, they can download books to their tablet or e-reader and adjust the font size to their liking. Although there is a cost, many libraries now lend e-books for free.
5. Medication Management Systems
These systems remind their owners to take their medications, dispense the proper doses, calculate and report missed doses, store health information and contact pharmacies for refills. Many of them are even HIPPA-compliant. Thanks to the online connectivity of the systems, family members of seniors who have trouble keeping track of their prescriptions no longer have to worry.
6. Smart Watches & Activity Trackers
Technology makes it easier to ensure you stay active as you age. Most smart watches and activity trackers will track your steps, calories burned during exercise and even your resting and active heart rates. Some higher-end models, such as the Apple Watch, can even help detect irregular heartbeats, which can alert users to a possible heart situation that needs addressed. You can share your daily progress with friends, and even test your loved ones with activity challenges to see who can meet and exceed their fitness goals.
Technology doesn’t have to be silly and time-wasting. There are plenty of products specifically designed for a better life.
Nye Health Services offers seven communities in Eastern Nebraska and Wyoming, structured to meet the needs of their residents from independent living to skilled nursing care. 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.