It seems like more and more senior living facilities and 55+ communities are being built and filling up as quickly as the owners announce availability. Not too long ago senior living facilities along with skilled nursing and assisted living centers focused solely on providing health services for those at an advanced age. However, it’s become so much more than that over the years and senior living facilities are becoming the new norm. The Baby Boomers are exiting the workforce, selling their homes, and heading into their Golden Years. They, and their
From Nursing Home to Country Club Flair.
After the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in the mid-1960s, accommodations for the aging split into several types: skilled nursing homes, senior housing, hospitality, and a hybrid. The result was the creation of more independent living communities that focused more on helping residents enjoy retirement with others of the same age.
While health is still a big focus, many senior living facilities offer their residents a much broader range of living accommodations: independent living, assisted living, and a dementia or memory care unit. The accommodations are much more luxurious than the days of yesteryear. Facilities now include movie theaters, pools, gyms, hair salons, and so much more. Residents often find their new accommodations far nicer than the ones they left.
It’s about being pampered, nurtured and protected all in one environment.
The “Country Club Effect” of many facilities takes stress away from the residents because they no longer have to be responsible for maintaining their home and all the things that go with it. Doing everyday chores like shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, and even vacuuming is no longer a burden. They can spend more of their time enjoying the things that matter to them in a community with others like them.
There’s also another driving force: the pace of retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, along with longer life expectancy, means there are now more senior citizens than ever, with the numbers continuing to rise. There are more than 50 million elder Americans, with approximately one million currently living in an elderly community. By the year 2030, there are expected to be twice that number in senior facilities; by 2060, it is predicted that there will be about 100 million U.S. citizens older than 65. There’s no doubt that this is a multi-billion dollar industry that will keep growing.
Skilled Nursing – Can we keep up?
Another factor that’s increasing the number of senior living facilities needed is that seniors tend to wait too long to receive specialized care. Where they once were able to live alone and independently, many seniors now require some form of assistance even if it’s just a daily wellness check in. Many seniors don’t have the option or don’t want to live with family members so a senior living facility that offers a variety of care is a perfect fit for many.
Skilled nursing facilities, specifically in rural areas struggle with labor shortages of skilled personnel, specifically Certified Nursing Assistants or CNAs who are critical to the care of the residents. As the demand rises, it will be important for communities to recognize the need for training and recruiting for these roles.
There will be an obvious need for more—and better—senior care moving forward as the elderly population grows. As more elders flow into the senior care world, this can create consequences—both good and not-so-good—for seniors across the country. One study found that the usage of community-based senior care systems increased from 19 percent to 42 percent over a 13-year period. These senior communities allow seniors to have a wider range of care as well as a sense of community. More than 11 million seniors live in isolation, with the CDC reporting that 30 percent of elders 65 and up live alone. Isolation can have dire effects on seniors’ mental and physical state, so the more included they are in a society, the better.
Senior Vice President, Chief Lending Officer