Every year the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) introduces the global population to the hottest trends in technology. This show is the cream of the crop, so to speak, where all the major electronics manufacturers do their best to one up competitors by unveiling the item with the biggest ‘wow’ factor. In years past the CES has largely been aimed at younger consumers who are itching to get the hottest new tech trend in their hands. Not only are younger consumers willing to pay, but they anxiously await these new products every single year.
However, this year things were a little bit different. The event took place January 8-12 and was one for the books. One of the top – and perhaps most surprising – trends of the CES this year was a focus on serving the senior population and addressing their needs. Numerous big name electronics brands are shifting their focus and introducing products that aim to help seniors age safely and efficiently. A sneak peek at some of the products include devices designed to give caregivers added peace of mind, custom shoes with tracking sensors that can detect falls, and a device that deploys personal airbags from a custom belt to help protect the wearer in the event of a fall. The products that are sure to come with the biggest ‘wow’ factor at this year’s CES include a Whill Model Ci wheelchair, equipped with rugged wheels and a revolutionary new look that will allow the user to go about 10 miles with each charge. Seniors that are tapped into the tech world already have the option of steering the wheelchair either with a mounted joystick or an app on their mobile phone (McKnight’s).
This is a huge step for both manufacturers and seniors, and it is indicative of where we are going right now. While millennials and younger generations are often the focus for these kinds of events, the fact that seniors will be at the center is huge. As the senior housing industry continues to transform and evolve, we expect to see more interconnectedness, products, and facilities that rely on technology to meet the changing demands of seniors. Be sure and check back in with us for more on how the senior living industry is evolving and what this means for providers and investors alike.
With the new year officially upon us, what better time than now to look ahead to what we can expect for the senior housing industry? Before we closed out 2017, we did a brief recap on what the year meant for senior housing, From the changing needs of Baby Boomers to the role of technology and innovation in senior housing, 2017 was a big year. With everything we experienced in 2017, many are asking what 2018 has in store. While we can’t be sure quite yet – just two days in to the new year – we have a free predictions to share:
- More coordinated care and wellness opportunities – Wellness was a major focus for many senior living providers in 2017, and we only expect this to continue. Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) across the country began integrating wellness programs with comprehensive care aimed at anticipating the needs of resident – both right now and down the road. We expect this focus to continue and expand with the help of technology, wellness apps, and other tools that will give residents what they need to meet their health needs.
- Changing expectations – Another point building off of what we saw in 2017 is changing expectations – of both residents and their loved ones. SNFs can no longer get away with sliding under the radar and doing what they’ve always done – they must evolve to meet the demand of the industry and these new residents.
- The urban building boom will continue – In 2017 we also saw a rise in urban senior living communities, a trend construction companies saw on various scales. In 2018 we expect this urban building boom to create new opportunities and communities that integrate a wide range of amenities, such as fitness centers, dining rooms, and space for socialization.
- Senior caregivers will become a focus – Senior housing residents and their loved ones aren’t the only focus for 2018 – SNFs must also shift their process and pay more attention to caregivers, nurses, and other staff members. There is a very high expectation in the United States right now for excellent customer service, and the senior living industry is no exception. Providers will be on the lookout for talented, dedicated, and compassionate employees who are valued, respected, and compensated appropriately.
- Disruption will continue – Not unlike many other industries, the senior living industry is in the midst of disruption and monumental changes. This is due in large part to technology and the ease of online research. In order to keep up and continue to cater to the needs of residents will attracting potential buyers or management teams, SNFs must embrace these changes and work to adapt.
- Collaboration is key – Many industry experts predict 2018 will be a year of collaboration and working together with others within the industry. For example, long-term memory care facilities may work together with dementia centers and continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) may aim to develop stronger relationships with hospitals and outpatient facilities. The focus will be on wellness and providing a much higher level of are than in the past, which is exciting for all of us in the industry.
We wish you the very best in 2018 and look forward to standing alongside you as the year unfolds! If you have any questions about our senior living offerings or are considering investing, please do not hesitate to contact Shep Roylance.