Innovation in senior living is more than possible, it’s already happening. From communities purposefully designed to reduce accidental injuries, to advanced eldercare technology enabling convenient family engagement, the field of aging is experiencing its “innovation period”.
Key senior living operations are pioneering the path for other organizations by adopting innovative practices while others are recently catching on and working to become more innovative. Either way, everyone in the field of aging is benefitting from the progress being made. Read on to discover three critical ways the field of aging benefits from becoming more innovative.
1) Competition Provides Better Holistic Care
Senior living innovation drives greater care at a lower cost to improve quality of life for aging adults. Competition in the senior living industry leads to better care for all aging Americans. By becoming more innovative in how we provide care, other smart senior living organizations likewise adopt these practices to stay competitive as a useful resource for older adults. As a result of this race to the top, a greater number of aging Americans receive better care – not just for their bodies and minds, but for the person as a whole.
It has been documented by AARP in their Key Indicators of Well-Being 2012 survey and reported on by senior living communities like The Clairborne in their article on “The Benefits of a Holistic Approach to Senior Care” that there are connections between the body, mind and spirit; when one part of the three is in great shape, the other two are likely to be as well. Recognizing how this trifecta plays together is a huge part of person-centered care, and influential senior living operations are competing to discover innovative ways to deliver the best care based on the most current research.
As an added benefit, competition amongst senior living organizations to provide better, holistic care more efficiently and effectively is leading us towards that goal more quickly. This huge bonus is a game-changer since today’s seniors are able to reap the rewards instead of being forgotten in favor of the next generation of older adults.
2) Senior Living Innovation Decreases Operational Costs
From an organizational perspective, operational costs decrease as innovations are made in the field of aging. Although it’s true that there is an increase in operational costs in the short term as we collectively determine the right formula to deliver the best care, over the course of five to ten years, overall caregiving and operational costs decrease as we reduce inefficiencies.
Take a look at how much money your own organization may be spending on care delivery to seniors with more advanced needs, or wasting through disorganized staff administrative practices. These are real numbers we’re talking about and although nearly all of us in the field of aging are in it to provide the care that’s so desperately needed by our most vulnerable population, realistically we all rely on finances and funding to keep our organizations going. Fortunately, innovations made by all parts of the senior living industry – from real estate and CCRCs to eldercare technology and caregiving teams – will likewise benefit the field of aging as a whole.
Plus, streamlined organizations enjoy the additional benefit of increased finances available to take risks on new opportunities. Not only does risk-taking enable innovation and advance the field of seniorcare, but it simultaneously positions organizations as trusted brands, deeply invested in delivering the best possible care. Once senior living organizations reach the position where operational costs have significantly decreased, our industry will be able to continue iterating and adjusting as seniors’ needs change, leading to brighter futures for us all.
3) Innovation Improves Seniors’ Quality of Life
Purpose-driven senior living communities and organizations redefine aging through innovative ideas and operations. Consumers don’t feel limited by their wheelchairs or walkers; they feel free to move around. Seniors are treated with dignity and respect because the life plan community empowers them to lead their own lives while offering support when they need it.
Quality of life for seniors isn’t determined by a fresh coat of paint in their bedroom or an aquarium of colorful fish in the common room; it’s determined by how happy, healthy and cared-for each individual person feels. Innovative life plan communities value the person as an individual rather than prioritizing incomplete measures of happiness such as “Did we feed Resident X three times today? Did we clean their bedroom?” Instead they ask, “Did Joan enjoy chatting with Nurse Sally about their mutual fondness for yoga after exercise class? Did we treat her belongings gingerly – as if they were ours – while tidying up her personal space?”
Senior living innovation facilitates caring for the aging adult as a holistic person because of the new organizational practices and caregiver perspectives which emerge as a result. Older adults can finally enjoy the benefits of aging, such as exploring new hobbies they were too busy for during middle and older adulthood, because of innovative care delivery practices. Together, purpose-driven organizations and innovation in the field of aging improve quality of life for seniors.
Innovation in the Field of Aging
Innovation doesn’t solely benefit senior living operations, it provides real value to the people living in these communities to help them thrive. It’s absolutely necessary to the advancement of caregiving and care delivery practices. Innovative ideas and practices in the field of aging are changing real, human lives, like yours and mine, right now. It’s replacing outdated methods based on stale research with new approaches according to the latest scientific discoveries. As the field of aging continues to innovate, imagine where that innovation will take us in the next five years. Technology is rapidly developing – the only thing moving faster is innovative ideas.
You too can easily be an industry leader and innovator. To see how cost effective and easy this can be — download the IndependaTVe™ brochure and