Five Predictions on the Future of Senior Living
Last updated 7/18/2015 at 4:32pm | View PDF
More Americans proactively will seek to reside in senior living communities, and the senior living industry has a role to play in ensuring that consumers will be financially prepared for their retirement years, according to a panel of CEOs attending the recent Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) Senior Living Executive conference in Tampa, Florida.
Moderated by Fortune Senior Editor and Washington columnist Nina Easton, the CEO panel offered the following predictions on the industry and its future consumers:
1) Americans will proactively choose senior living.
Americans' perception of senior living is changing, and it will continue to evolve. No longer seen as a stopping point on the way to higher-acuity care, senior living is increasingly viewed as a genuine home. As baby boomers make decisions with their aging parents, and begin to create a blueprint for their own retirement, senior living will become a logical next step in life stage planning. The industry is meeting consumer demand with a variety of offerings across the care continuum – from independent living to memory care.
2) Consumers need guidance in saving for senior living.
Though demand for senior living will increase, Americans' ability to finance their retirement may be in jeopardy. Americans are living longer and saving less. The industry has an opportunity to address the growing challenges of long-term services and supports by playing an important role in how consumers finance their most enriching years.
3) Senior living will become a leading career path.
Millennials and their Generation Z counterparts increasingly will choose the senior living industry for their career path. Known as generations for whom “doing well by doing good” is a priority, these young professionals will be drawn to the opportunity to tap into their sense of altruism, in an industry with an overwhelming growth trajectory that offers the opportunity to build a lifelong career in a variety of disciplines. The field will require not only caregivers, but also professionals to fill roles in finance, asset management, sales and marketing, food service and healthcare.
4) The senior living and healthcare industries will converge.
As healthcare systems turn their focus to population health and seek to improve outcomes and reduce costs, the necessity for collaboration with senior living will grow. Assisted living communities will develop strong partnerships with home healthcare providers, hospitals and physician practices to provide integrated services that deliver better, more efficient healthcare to seniors.
5) Formalized standards will create a “seal of approval” for senior living operators.
ALFA will introduce formal industry standards and a credentialing program, raising the bar of excellence in senior living by providing the public with a basis for evaluating a service provider or professional. These programs enable ALFA members to enhance or acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to perform at the highest levels within the senior living industry.
“Senior living is the most caring and responsible choice that families can make for a loved one,” said James Balda, president and CEO of ALFA. “As our industry grows, ALFA and its members will continue to look forward and seek new ways to foster a sense of community and build a bright future for America's older adults.”