As the years pass, the older adult population grows. According to the Census Bureau, this year for every 3.5 working-age people, there is one retirement-age person.1 As these numbers continue to rise, so will competition in the industry. It’s time to prioritize getting on board with changes and understanding the trends that will help to build the foundation the industry needs to support the aging population.
2020 trends reflect ways the industry can set itself up for these increasing numbers over the coming years and ways to support the aging population as availability of caregivers is limited.2
Senior Housing News interviewed various executives on their thoughts for 2020 in relation to industry trends, and here is what they had to say.3
Technology and the elderly population might not sound like they mix, but this is far from true. Tech-fueled changes in senior living lead to endless opportunities in care, treatment, and overall living experience.
Tech companies might appear to threaten the need of senior living care with innovations that can keep people home longer, but industry leaders aren’t as concerned about that 3. Instead, they are hopeful for technology to increase personalization of care, help to create community, and enhance senior living experiences.
Technology is integrating into long term care at every turn by way of new building design, virtual reality, voice technology and much more. Technologies expected to emerge in long term care are both software and hardware based. One study shows on top of benefits for patients and families, there are opportunities for these technologies to improve efficiency in the workforce 4.
Software technology includes many improvements to care including in charting, communication and ease of use. Hardware technology varies greatly, from some being used to sense falls and other health emergencies and other devices meant to improve resident life like virtual reality headsets and group listening headphone systems.
Tech giants like Amazon and Apple have already made moves to create a name in the eldercare space. The Amazon Alexa is a promising way to offer virtual assistance to residents as well. Using Alexa to notify staff and assist residents in daily needs is noted to be a great way to improve communication and assistance in all levels of care 5.
Industry leaders should keep an eye out on developments this year, and determine if working with these companies will be beneficial to residents, particularly those that address sensory, environmental and design challenges.
Unique Experiences for Resident Engagement
In 2017 Leading Age predicted the start of an “Experience” era 6. This rings true and has become a chief subject for executives and industry leaders at the start of 2020.
Studies show improving resident engagement is directly related to better health outcomes.7 By creating an environment that welcomes residents and works to end isolation, mental and physical health has been shown to improve.
One study looked at the outcomes of implementing hearable technology across senior living facilities, including Eversound headphones. One impressive outcome being 77.4% of participants were more engaged while wearing Eversound headphones.
Coupled with technology, resident engagement can improve drastically. Virtual reality, remote group learning and virtual tours can also be used to improve engagement and offer experiences residents may not have gotten otherwise.
Some industry leaders expect to see experiences in senior living to become more current, interesting and even surprising. One industry leader even expects to see brewing beer, tasting wine and playing video games in this new wave of resident engagement for 2020.
2020 Will Be the Year of Growth and Embracing New Possibilities
Technology and resident experience are two main trends projected for the 2020 year and beyond. Aging adults have adult children who expect the most from their parents’ facilities and keeping up with technological advances and prioritizing engagement can set a facility apart from the rest.
Providing unique experiences for residents and welcoming the developments in technology will not only improve care and satisfaction from residents and families but will also play a role in employee satisfaction.
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