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Trend Survey Reveals Future of Senior Living Communities

Older adults who anticipate moving to a senior living community can look forward to maintaining their independence through "smart home" technology and wireless connectivity, according to a recent survey of senior living trends. The survey reveals how future generations will be served in senior living communities, including expanded home health care, wellness programs, and "green" designs.

Evanston, IL (PRWEB) May 19, 2009 -- Older adults who anticipate moving to a senior living community can look forward to maintaining their independence through "smart home" technology and wireless connectivity, according to a recent survey of senior living trends released today by Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging in collaboration with Caring Communities Shared Services and Life Services Network (LSN) of Illinois, the state affiliate of the American Association of Homes and Services of the Aging and the Assisted Living Federation of America.

The survey provides insight into how future generations will be served in senior living communities, including expanded home health care, wellness programs, and "green" designs.

"The results of this survey are significant because there are few published studies that examine trends in programs, amenities, and environments among aging services providers," said Mary Leary, President and CEO, Mather LifeWays.

The survey, conducted in October and November 2008, includes responses from 107 senior living organizations in 13 states, representing 435 senior living communities. "The survey results tell us that it will not be business as usual for senior living communities in the years ahead," said Linda Hollinger-Smith, Vice President, Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging. "It's clear that with the projected decline in the 75 to 84 age population over the next decade, senior living organizations will need to identify their 'niche' to attract this generation prior to the arrival of the Baby Boomers."

Survey respondents identified the top emerging trends, including:

Maintaining Resident Independence

  • Incorporating "smart home" technology and wireless connectivity into senior living residences.
  • Bringing home health care, tele-health technology, geriatric assessment services, and non-medical home care services into senior living communities to promote quality of life as one "ages in place."

Expansion of Programs/Services Outside of Senior Living Communities
  • Providing home health and adult day care services.
  • Delivering services to older adults in their homes through programs such as the "Beacon Hill" model.

Wellness and Lifelong Learning for Senior Living Residents
  • Integrating and expanding wellness programs into senior living design including wellness/healing gardens, health spas, therapy pools, putting greens, and indoor aquatic centers.
  • Providing web-based education and lifelong learning programs for residents.

Environmentally Aware Senior Living Communities
  • Obtaining LEED certification to demonstrate new construction and renovations are achieving "green" standards.
  • Building "small house" models for residents in long-term care settings: Small houses are self-contained buildings for small numbers of residents, organized in a way to maximize normal living environments and routines, resident autonomy, sense of community, and quality of life.

Results of the survey demonstrate that senior living organizations are addressing and planning to meet the needs and interests of their current and future residents. Overall, senior living communities with 300 or more units appear to be leading the way in terms of current and future planning in many areas of programs, services, amenities, and environmental issues compared to smaller senior living communities.

Senior living providers indicate they will continue to expand partnerships in order to meet and exceed expectations of the next generation of older adults. Potential partnerships include other Continuing Care Retirement Communities, colleges/universities, for-profit ventures, Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, active adult communities, and state and local government agencies.

For further information about the Survey of Trends in Senior Living, please contact: Linda Hollinger-Smith, Vice President, Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, (847) 492-6811 or

About Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging:
Based in Evanston, Illinois, Mather LifeWays enhances the lives of older adults by creating Ways to Age Well.SM The Institute on Aging was founded as a way to provide much-needed research and education for the health professionals who serve older adults. Initiatives focus on person-centered care and effective memory support addressing program assessment tools, emergency preparedness, and reducing workforce turnover rates. Additional Institute programs target workforce wellness and empowering family caregivers. To learn more about Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, or Mather LifeWays senior residences and community initiatives, please call (847) 492.7500 or find your way to

About the Survey:
Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging conducted a survey among senior living member organizations to learn about trends in programs, services, amenities, and environments as providers look toward serving the next generation of older adults. A web survey was conducted in October and November and data was analyzed in December 2008. A total of 107 senior living member organizations participated in the web survey, representing 435 senior living communities from 13 states nationwide (nearly 40,000 units). Approximately 60 percent of the senior living communities are based in Illinois. Of the participating senior living organizations, 35 percent have a total of 300 or more units and 64 percent have less than 300 units.

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