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Top Senior Housing Trends of 2018

Kimberly Fowler
By Kimberly FowlerJanuary 1, 2018

With the new year upon us, there are two words that are dominating trends in the senior housing market: integration and innovation. Today’s baby-boomers are different than those of the past – they have a certain level of expectation for quality in all aspects of their care, and they know what they want.

In recent years, senior housing has been moving away from a “one size fits all” approach, focusing rather on the person as an individual, with a desire and need for customized care and housing. This trend will continue in 2018, and go even further to break down the silos often associated with senior support, achieving a more integrated and personalized balance when it comes to accessibility, care, location and unit design.

Senior Housing Trends of 2018

Check out the following top senior housing trends for 2018:


1. A Space All Their Own

Caregivers and Staff

Senior housing trends in 2018 are focusing more on the needs of staff. Senior Housing News suggests that “thoughtfully designed and plentiful staff spaces demonstrate that management values its staff and understands what is needed to get the work done.” Providing staff with comfortable, well-designed spaces ensures that their needs are being cared for and respected and that they feel more valued. This includes:

  • Adequate storage and housekeeping spaces in appropriate locations, where they are needed
  • Comfortable break and relaxation spaces
  • Ergonomically correct, secure and private workstations
  • Private kitchenette and restrooms
  • Windows allowing for natural light and access to outdoor spaces

2. Location

Cultural Interaction and Integrated Living

Senior Housing News predicts that the locations of senior housing will see a big shift this year, with a focus on greater cultural connections and integrated living in urban areas.

Many seniors today want to stay within the neighborhoods in which they have raised their families and lived their lives; they want to live “where the action is,” where there are multicultural and multigenerational influences and where they are close to a variety of services, activities and amenities. Senior Housing News anticipates a focus on truly integrating seniors into the “urban fabric” of a community.

Other location-based considerations include:

  • Access to arts and culture
  • Creation of “third places” – social surroundings separate from senior housing, such as cafes, clubs, parks or public libraries
  • Partnerships with non-senior living organizations and community integrated programs
  • Proximity to grocery and retail stores
  • Proximity to multiple transportation options and plugs for electric cars
  • Smart designs for dense suburban and urban locations

3. Personalized Care

Client-Centered

Personalized care, specific to the unique needs of each client is another major senior housing trend predicted for 2018. PointClickCare advises that customized senior living arrangements will require providers to think outside the box and propose new solutions and strategies.

Currently, many senior housing providers offer the ‘best for most’ approach, attempting to appeal to the biggest demographics of seniors by focusing on two groups: those who are active or those in need of 24-hour care. Instead, in 2018 providers will be focusing on the person, rather than the demographic, and offering real choices and experiences to seniors, based on their wants and desires, including:

  • Choice of activities
  • Choice of food, ingredients and meal times
  • Choice in living arrangement style – apartment, condo, shared quarters, etc.
  • Connection and a sense of belonging in the community in which they live
  • Personal connections with staff

4. Unit Design

Inclusive and Smart Layouts

Smart unit design and an innovative footprint are two important factors of senior housing trends for 2018. Baby boomers are not interested in bare and sterile housing units – with this thought in mind, many continuing care retirement communities are beginning to offer apartment-style units that are larger in size, inviting and do not represent a traditional facility. Senior Housing News suggests that residential apartments will be more customizable and seniors will be involved in the process of choosing “cabinets, countertops, flooring and other finishes.”

Other considerations around unit design include:

  • Flexible common areas and spaces that can serve multipurpose functions
  • Focus on preventative health – designated areas for fitness, wellness programs, yoga etc.
  • “Hybrid buildings” – two to four stories high, with four to six apartments per floor
    • The floor plans have a smart layout with a smaller footprint, short corridors and close elevator access for residents and staff
  • Integrated healthcare technology
  • Outdoor spaces, featuring community gardens, multi-use lawns, paths and trails, rooftop spaces and sufficient shade structures

Senior housing trends in 2018 are all about providing residents and staff with a personalized experience that focuses on integration and innovation rather than the one-size fits most approach we’ve seen in the past.

What other senior housing trends have you noticed? What would you like to see implemented across the senior housing industry this year? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Kimberly Fowler
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Kimberly Fowler
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