Monday, September 29, 2014

National Assisted Living Week!

National Assisted Living Week is celebrated every September.  This year, the theme was “The Magic of Music.”  Numerous assisted living communities across the country participated and celebrated in various ways.

For those who have observed long term care for the past 20-30 years, you may have noticed this trend:  nursing home residents of today were on hospital medical/surgical units 20 years ago, and those in assisted living today were in nursing homes 20 years ago.  This shift has resulted in adjustments for the nursing home and assisted living professions.

Factor in the aging of the consumer-oriented Baby Boomer generation.  These folks are accustomed to being able to buy whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want.  They are far more likely to seek a second opinion and make their own clinical decisions than previous generations were.  Their microwave mentality values instant results.  They want choices and options; they don’t accept “no” for an answer.  They want convenience, even if they have to pay a little bit more.  They may ask why they have to move locations and change lifestyles in order to access care; why can’t the care come to them?  As they enter long-term care systems, they still want these expectations to be met. 

These trends are leading to the creation of many new models of senior living.  Licensed facilities that rely upon government funding (Medicare/Medicaid) are remaining stagnant in population, while other senior living arrangements are growing.  Baby Boomers want to have medical care available, even if it’s not needed routinely.  Senior living communities now often have medical services available on campus.  Social workers may be available for some degree of case management.  Concierge services may meet other needs.  These seniors may want a condo-style home with a spa, a golf course, and other amenities on the property, with a nurse available in case they sprain an ankle playing tennis. 

As new models of senior living are developing, stay tuned to see how Saint Joseph’s College is keeping up with new trends.  A degree program specializing in Senior Living Leadership is under development.  We are planning to remain on the cutting edge of leadership in aging services!

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