America is a rapidly graying country. Demographics experts say that in the very near future our older population will outnumber the younger generations for the first time in our nation’s history. And with the average occupancy of current retirement communities already exceeding 89%, there will soon come a time where these existing facilities will no longer be able to keep up with the demands of seniors in need of both housing and care.
As we creep toward that day, the interest in senior housing facilities has been piqued among investors and developers. And the question of what this interest will mean for the future of senior living in the next few years is one worth considering.
As investment firms and building companies begin to look into developing more retirement communities as a revenue stream, the struggle won’t be in creating enough communities to meet demands, but in maintaining a balance between profit and quality.
What Does This Mean Right Now?
The future of senior housing is very much in question, at least as far as whether a new method of organization will take the place of the tradition retirement community. And while finding new solutions will be a valuable investment, finding ways to maintain well established communities will be just as important.
When your loved ones are in need of senior housing, either in an independentretirement community or in a dedicated medical facility, you want to know that the facilities and grounds are both well-maintained and that there is a dedicated focus on improving quality of life regardless of lifestyle or medical needs.
It’s difficult to know with any certainty just how this new, intense interest in senior housing will affect the quantity and quality of any facilities built in the future. It’s likely, however, that it will have at least some positive impact on the design, construction, and maintenance of those facilities in many fascinating new ways.
Let's take a look at how things might play out in the future.
1. More investors could mean a higher standard is set for senior living.
With more funding from the start, design and functionality should see an increase in quality and creativity, with environments that suit senior life. More facilities will be able to offer senior housing with that looks and feels like a better version of home.
Seniors looking for a community with amenities equal to their previous quality of life and standard of living should be spoiled for choice. Activities, menus, and the opportunity to spend their days in comfort and in the company of those with the same interests should become a staple of senior living.
2. Medical needs could be addressed through technology and design.
For those with medical needs, mild or severe, combining state of the art design and functionality with advancements in both medications and technology means better care and a better quality of life. Coupled with the increased ability to hire and retain highly qualified employees and caretakers, the industry itself has everything to gain from utilizing this new interest in senior housing.
The Bottom Line
While there’s no way to know if today’s interests and plan making will lead to anything substantive, the future certainly seems bright. With this renewed interest comes the possibility of significant and positive changes to an industry that has always had the future on its mind-- even while concerning itself with present-day care-- which can be a comfort to those many Americans soon to retire.
It may even give you the confidence to start planning now so that you make the best choices about your life after retirement, both now and in the future.