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Using AI to Identify Memory Care Conditions in Senior Living

Tech giant IBM and the University of California – San Diego recently announced a monumental partnership that will bring artificial intelligence (AI) to the senior living industry. In an essence, the two will work together to create big data and AI solutions to help senior living communities adapting to incoming residents. As we’ve discussed at length in the past, senior housing residents of today are changing – entering into these communities at a younger age and with new expectations. This is due to many factors, namely the prevalence of technology and how it has completely changed not only the way we interact with one another, but how we are able to provide and monitor care.

The partnership between IBM and the University of California was made official at the end of September and aims to “enhance the quality of life and independence of aging populations through the establishment of a new center: the Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living Center at U.C. San Diego” (Senior Housing News). The center’s team will focus on identifying early signs of many life-changing memory conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. Dementia is one of the most common conditions people in their senior years face, and unfortunately we still do not have a lot of information on who is susceptible and what can be done to treat it. The initiative between IBM and U.C. San Diego is huge in that it will work to delay Alzheimer’s and other devastating memory conditions from affecting residents.

What This Means for the Future of Senior Living

Through research and the use of big data and AI, the team will have the tools and resources to identify cognitive solutions to help senior living residents at risk of developing dementia. According to statistics, by 2050 two billion people in the world will be over the age of 60. With this comes numerous serious implications, including an increase in the number of people at risk of developing dementia. This is just one reason why this partnership is such a big deal right now. Not only will the research team look at past trends and use data and AI, but they will monitor participants 24/7 and keep track of their daily activities and overall health and wellness, including memory, wisdom, and resilience.

As senior living communities continue to change and adapt to this new generation of residents, it is imperative we are doing what we can to provide them with the highest level of care. The motivation behind projects like the one mentioned today is to help our senior population live independently for as long as they can. People are oftentimes forced to move into a skilled nursing facility (SNF) because of loss of cognitive function, even in its mildest form. If we are able to better understand why these conditions form and how to prevent them, we will be able to help people live a happier, healthier, independent life. We will be keeping a close eye on this project and update you as it progresses. To learn more about trends in senior living or if you are interested in investing in an assisted living facility, please do not hesitate to contact Shep Roylance of The JCH Group today.

Understanding the Role of Nutrition in Senior Living

One of the main contributing factors to seniors entering – and re-entering – long-term care facilities is diet and nutrition. In fact, malnutrition is a growing problem that affects hundreds of thousands of seniors every day and is the number one cause of readmission to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). However, recent studies have shown that facilities that make nutrition a top priority have improved prognoses and better patient outcomes. SNFs that make nutrition a top priority are not only likely to have healthier patients under their care, but happier ones, too. This is why personalized care is such an important component of running a successful and profitable assisted living facility. It is imperative that senior living providers and their staff take the time to optimize the nutrition of their residents and ensure they are getting the care and attention they need.

Why This Matters

According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, U.S. states that have a high number of malnourished patients have 50% higher  readmission rates within 30 days than states that make nutrition a priority. This is especially the case when it comes to seniors with cancer. For sick residents, nutrition is key to being strong enough to ensure cancer treatment options, such as chemotherapy and radiology. Seniors who are unhealthy and malnourished have a much higher chance of succumbing to their illness, instead of beating it.

This is why it is so important for SNF staff members to be educated on the signs and symptoms of malnutrition. In many cases, seniors come to assisted living facilities in a certain state and the staff has little to no prior knowledge of what they have been going through. Some residents have been on their own for quite awhile and unable to properly care for themselves, whereas others were neglected by caregivers or even loved ones. When a residents comes to your facility and appears weak, shows signs of weight loss, and is emotionally and mentally deprived, they may be malnourished.

The most important way to reduce readmission rates because of malnutrition is take a customized, focused approach to each and every resident. As the senior living industry continues to shift and adapt, it is imperative staff and SNF providers understand some of the most common ailments impacting their residents. While many seniors enter long-term care facilities because of age or conditions that cannot be helped, a large majority of them are malnourished and simply need to be supported and cared for in order to get back on their feet and moved into an independent living facility. If you would like to learn more about why nutrition is so important in senior living or are looking for investment opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact Shep Roylance of The JCH Group.

Are Senior Housing Residents Getting Younger?

As we continue to look at the top trends impacting senior housing right now, it’s important to point out that it seems many senior housing communities are catering to younger residents. A couple of months ago we discussed how aging in luxury is the next big trend, and that goes along with today’s topic. A new study indicates that newly constructed luxury senior living communities are becoming highly sought after, especially by younger seniors. The reason for this? Many industry experts believe seniors are starting to downsize much sooner than in the past. This is why senior living providers and construction companies that are focusing on building higher-end properties on a bigger scale are doing well.

As people begin to enter retirement age and move into this next chapter in their lives, it is becoming increasingly clear that they are looking for a place to land that has all the amenities of home (and then some), with the comfort and support of an assisted living community. From access to a golf course, spa, and technology, to larger living spaces that cater to aging, there are many directions senior living providers can go in. However, it is important to pay attention to what today’s seniors want, not what worked in the past. When people make the move a skilled nursing facility (SNF) or senior living community, they aren’t necessarily looking to completely change their lifestyle. Seniors of today are looking for a community that will provide them with the comforts of home and allow them to maintain their lifestyle.

Luxury Senior Living At Its Finest

Certain parts of the country – like California and New York – may be more adept to these models of senior living than others. This is due to numerous factors, but for one these residents are more accustomed to paying a higher price for living. Many of the luxury senior homes and communities that are seeing popping up all over the country right now come with a hefty price tag: $500,000 and up. For some seniors, this number is extravagant, but for many others, it is well worth the price to live in luxury and comfort. This is why market research is so important. Making sure their is a market for a higher-end senior living community is imperative if you want to succeed.

For more on senior living trends, please contact Shep Roylance of The JCH Group.

Senior Housing Occupancy Rates Increase – Slightly

Good news for senior living providers – occupancy rates are on the up-and-up for assisted living communities. While the industry still has a long way to go, a new report published by the National Investment Centers for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) indicated occupancy rates for skilled nursing facilities reached 86.6% in the third quarter of 2017. This is a 0.2% increase from the second quarter of 2017, so not a substantial increase, but a step in the right direction. The NIC indicates that the third quarter of 2016 was at a record low in regards to occupancy rates. While the increase in occupancy rates is a good sign for the industry, experts warn investors and providers alike to not get too excited. It is always good to see an improvement, but it is important to pay attention to various trends and wait to see how the fourth quarter closes out for 2017 before we start making any bold claims.

There are numerous reasons we believe occupancy rates are rising, namely from slow inventory growth. However, as senior living providers continue to adapt to the new generation of senior living residents and integrate modern ideas – such as technology and urban communities – we fully expect occupancy rates to continue on this path. Take, for example, independent living properties. In the third quarter of 2017, the occupancy rate for these facilities was 90.5%. While this is a .6%  drop from this time last year, it is still an improvement from years past.

When it comes to the senior housing community, we expect steady inventory and occupancy growth over the next several years. As senior living providers and investors continue to adapt to today’s modern seniors, we will see these rates increase and a new type of senior housing develop. Baby Boomers are aging, and SNFs must keep up if they are going to remain in business. Senior living residents of today have different than past generations, something that is imperative to keep in mind when looking at investment opportunities. Check out our public senior housing inventory here and please do not hesitate to reach out to Shep Roylance if you have any questions about investing in a property.