Predicting the senior housing future—it makes you think. A blog post originally written by Eric Schubert (of Twin Cities senior housing provider Ecumen) caught my eye today. He discussed the 10 senior housing development trends for the next 10 years. The trend list included sustainable design, universal design, technology, age of amenities, at-home services, NORCs and virtual villages, empowerment, memory care, and new ways of financing. Can't argue with any of that, especially since aging in place has become a buzzword that underpins many of the above markets.
Here's the wording of the section on technology:
"Technology, Technology, Technology: The next generation of seniors will be the most wired in history. Technology is essential to their life and will be integral to design to support social connections, ease and wellness. Look for today’s sensor technology, which helps identify small health issues before they grow larger, to move into even more interactive applications that connect people to family members and health care professionals."
Vendors are in the market now, and more are on the way. But while Eric is correct, the 10-year period has already begun. These technologies and services are essential to provide support to today's seniors and their adult children and caregivers. Family members and health professionals would benefit today from current wearable and home-based, sensor-based technologies and caregiving apps, references to which can be found throughout this Web site, including press releases. (Put “caregiving” in the search box to see what I mean. Now do the same thing with “sensors.” You get the idea.) And a new consortium launched today at the ASA conference. It’s purpose? To help vendors find new channels of distribution and "facilitate innovation through professional development, education and standardization of products and services, and by creating a vital and expanding aging technology community." (Stay tuned for more about AgeTek.org after the ASA conference.)
Senior housing service providers—take the challenge. Make the next 10 years start now, and all of today's nonprofit and for-profit senior housing providers become senior service providers (along with home care agencies, home health agencies, geriatric social services, and geriatric care management). They seek competitive differentiation not just in housing they offer, but also in the in-home services that extend beyond housing offerings. Become a caregiver's source for information, integrate technologies in pilot programs, and recommend them to third parties that can distribute them. Wouldn't it make sense to lead (rather than follow) this world into the next 10 years? Because from a technology innovation standpoint, the clock has moved forward and it's time to get going.
By Laurie Orlov
Aging in Place Technology Watch Blog
[First posted March 15, 2010, at Laurie's Aging in Place Technology Watch Web site.]