Monthly Archives: March 2017

Baby Boomers Driving Senior Living Trends

See what baby boomers desire in retirement living

If you take a close look, trends influenced by the baby-boom generation are all around us. Whether due to their generational likes and dislikes or due to the sheer number of boomers, they’ve had a significant influence on all of our lives. And now, as they enter retirement, they’re leveraging that same influence on senior living trends.

What to know about baby boomers retiring

There are more than 76 million baby boomers in the United States, putting us on the cusp of an exploding population of retirees. By 2060, the United States is likely to have more than 98 million people aged 65 or older. Baby boomers, who in 2017 will range in age from 52 to 71, are likely starting to make decisions about senior living with or on behalf of their parents. The oldest boomers may even be looking at senior living options for themselves.

How senior care industry trends will be shaped by boomers

Baby boomers have never quite been like their parents, and the way they will retire is likely no different. To their parents, “aging in place” is of utmost importance. The silent generation craves familiarity—in their home in which they raised their children and in their neighborhood. Ninety percent say they want to stay put. That’s not necessarily the case for boomers.

Boomers say they are okay with leaving their home—aging in place isn’t necessarily a top priority. But, they have strong opinions on how and where they will live out their retirement years, and in many cases, they bring these opinions to the table when searching for a senior living community for their parents.

Much of what baby boomers will demand in retirement and in senior living has to do with how they lived. Because they’ve enjoyed, as a group, a relatively large amount of discretionary income, they are used to having what they want when they want it. In other words, they have had the luxury of making lifestyle choices that they will take with them into retirement. And what’s more, lifestyle choices will drive them to senior living communities, unlike their parents, who, in most cases, enter a senior living community due to medical concerns.

So, what can we expect from baby boomers as they search for the perfect senior living community?

  • They’ll look for personalized options, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Senior living communities will need to offer plenty of programming options and facility amenities, including the latest technology, to meet their diverse needs. Not only that, tomorrow’s seniors will want amenities like fitness gyms and spas to be located closer to the entrance with the hope the amenities can be shared with community members.
  • They will favor senior living communities that are more urban and close to community amenities. Think high-rise communities versus communities located in the suburbs.
  • They will insist on personal privacy, and not only that, they also will want space—large living areas with multiple rooms and large bathrooms.
  • They will want immediate access to doctors, psychiatrists, counselors and other medical professionals.
  • They’ll want to entertain, whether in a multipurpose space or on an outdoor terrace. They’ll look for a neighborhood feel and multigenerational interactions.
Preparing for baby boomer housing trends

As baby boomers prepare for retirement, they look forward to moving on, as long as it’s to something better. Are you prepared for the influx of baby boomers? Ask us about how to implement these senior living trends into your current campus or a new facility.

Contact us or call 920-969-9344 to learn more.

Memory Care Facility Design

New ways for caring for someone with dementia

There has been a boom in the construction of senior memory care facilities in recent years, and one of the primary drivers is the increase in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

As the United States population ages, the number of people suffering from memory loss will grow. It’s estimated that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men who live past age 55 will develop some form of dementia during their lifetime.

Of all the different forms of dementia in seniors, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, making up about 70 percent of elderly dementia cases. Approximately 5.2 million Americans age 65 and older have it, and as seniors reach the age of 85, between 25 and 50 percent of people will show signs of the disease.

This data shows that caring for someone with dementia in a specialized memory care facility is not just becoming more common, but is a necessity. Thoughtful memory care facility design and programs can greatly improve the quality of life for those living with memory loss.

Considerations for memory care facility design

Because of the special challenges that residents living with memory loss can face, memory care facilities should be designed a little differently than other senior care centers.

  • People living with memory loss have a tendency to wander. Rather than confine them to a small area of a memory care facility, provide ample space for them to roam with no confusing dead-end hallways. A courtyard and common areas in the middle of a facility give residents plenty of space to wander around while meeting and interacting with others.
  • Another feature that is becoming more popular is a life skill station. These interactive tools replicate everyday functions, such as putting away dishes, checking the mail, holding and caring for a doll, creating art, and other hobbies and activities. These stations jumps-start residents’ memories, getting them interested and active.

Dementia care facilities can reignite memories by engaging the senses

Many different sensory functions can trigger a memory in those dealing with dementia. The right sounds and colors can have a profound impact on residents’ daily quality of life.

  • In a facility for Alzheimer’s patients and others living with memory loss, themed areas can trigger memories for residents. These themes can have their own color scheme and décor, giving residents a certain feeling when they visit these areas. For example, an ocean-themed wing may use varying shades of blue and have artwork and photos on the wall depicting water scenes. These areas can also have customized flooring appropriate to the theme.
  • Implementing sensory stimulation has positive effects when caring for someone with memory loss. Several years ago, a study showed that brightly colored fish helped curtail disruptive behaviors and improved the eating habits of residents with dementia. Another form of sensory therapy involves Snoezelen, or a controlled multisensory environment (MSE). These rooms allow residents to control their own therapy through light, sounds, textures and smells that help them relax and feel a sense of control.
  • A Dutch company developed stickers that transform a plain room door to a door that replicates a door from the residents’ past. The result is a bit of nostalgia that comforts those living with memory loss.

Comfortably caring for residents with memory loss

Any memory care facility design should look and feel like a home. Using the right colors, patterns and furnishings makes it feel warm, welcome and comforting, putting residents instantly at ease. A good rule is to ask yourself if you’d enjoy the colors and furnishings in your own home. If so, it’s likely to be well received by other residents.

If you’re looking to deliver the best in memory care facilities, contact Community Living Solutions. We can work with you to design a successful memory care unit or facility. Contact Terry McLaughlin, or call 920-969-9344 to discuss plans.