Nearly a quarter of visits to the emergency room in 2010 were by individuals over the age of 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Hospital trips can be highly stressful for older adults, and they increase the odds of exposure to infectious diseases and development of dementia.

Senior living residents who visit the hospital also are more likely to require a move to a higher level of care. A single trip to the ER increases the odds that a senior will need to move out of an independent living or assisted living residence and to a higher-acuity care environment.

To help retain residents in independent living and assisted living environments, many senior living communities are becoming more proactive about providing preventive care. What are some ways communities are working to keep residents happy and healthy?

On-site clinics

More senior living communities are establishing their own clinics for on-site care, while others are partnering with nearby medical providers that can see residents for treatment of chronic conditions and other preventive needs.

Visits from medical staff

Visits by doctors, nurses and social workers are helping keep residents healthy in their homes in a growing number of senior living communities. Through home visits, medical staff can pick up on issues — such as poor nutrition and feelings of loneliness — that can turn into bigger health problems.

group of nurses

Use of advanced technology

More senior living communities are using advanced technologies such as Independa to support preventive care. Independa provides an easy-to-use interface for connecting with wireless monitoring devices and tracking health metrics. It also allows medical professionals to check in via video, reducing the required number of necessary and costly home visits.

Preventive care keeps residents living independently

Increasingly, senior living communities are incorporating preventive care measures. On-site clinics, home visits from medical staff and use of technology like Independa help support preventive strategies that can keep residents healthy, independent and living in their choice of environment.