Institutional housing, where seniors live in small spaces offset from vacant hallways with drab and outdated decorations on the walls is definitely becoming a thing of the past. Senior living communities are transitioning from the old model of care, with its long, lonely hallways, the smell of disinfectant lingering in the air, and the repetitive, carefully-regimented lifestyle.
Today’s senior living communities are aiming to create inviting spaces that feels like a real home, with an abundance of lifestyle options, quality amenities, dining options, and a refreshed approach at décor which creates a la mode spaces that can truly enrich the lives of seniors.
Why the transition? Well, what was originally developed to quickly fulfill the need to provide care for seniors who either did not have family nearby, or whose family lacked the means to properly care for them has grown into a exponentially viable market in which the public realizes many seniors, those with and without family, require varying levels of care and are demanding – and rightly so – better living options and accommodations.
As the different generations age, we must be mindful to a multitude of different factors when developing programs those new generations will enjoy. For example, everything from favorite pastimes, popular music, historical movements, and community culture have to be taken into account.
For example, when the 90s generation retires, incorporating Frank Sinatra into music programs may not suit residents in that age group. They may be more inclined to listen to Mariah Carey, Britney Spears or Eminem. Residents born in the new millennium grew up in homes decorated in modern, contemporary design, as opposed to floral wallpaper, lace curtains and gold accent pieces.
With each successive generation we can get extremely creative in how we approach all the varying lifestyle options and programs made available. For all we know, the senior living community of the future could be Hogwarts Home of Seniors and Wizardry, a magical community where older adults change their TV channels using remotes that look like magic wands and select items such as chocolate frogs and Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans off of food carts in the dining area.
The community may host Quidditch tournaments for grandchildren and serve butter beer at community happy hours (or maybe that’s just how I want to imagine the community of the future!). The future can really take us anywhere as can the creativity we use in catering to each generation that retires. Did I just see a creative lightbulb go off in your head? Lumos Maxima!!!