Commentary by Ruthann Graham
The most recognized trend in assisted living today is “85 is the new 70.” People are waiting longer to move into assisted living. When they decide to make the move, they are looking for a long list of amenities that not only duplicate what they had at home, but additional ones as well.
The assisted living resident is becoming more vocal in what they are looking for in their new home. They want high quality food preparation and presentation so that they feel comfortable inviting their friends and family over to join them for a meal. They are looking for amenities that can provide their grandchildren a place to go and play when visiting their grandparents. They are looking for new and exciting activity programming that includes technology learning, exercise programs, and lectures and cultural events that stimulate their body and brain. The trend of the new resident moving to assisted living is “use it or lose it.” And, the communities are having to ramp up their activity programming to accommodate the new awareness of health that is extremely important to the resident.
And, of course, they want transportation that can take them shopping, to appointments and to do personal errands. However, a very welcomed and convenient trend is the communities are now bringing the medical provider to the resident so that the resident doesn’t have to leave the community for doctor appointments and Physical Therapy appointments.
Perhaps the biggest trend in assisted living is making sure that when existing assisted livings are renovating or new assisted livings are being built that they include a memory care area or wing to accommodate the ever increasing cognitive disabilities such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The new memory care areas are being built to offer increased sunlight, outdoor spaces, simple and easy to maneuver floor plans that offer ease of mobility for the residents and activities that keep the resident happy and engaged.
Ruthann Graham is director of community relations at Magnolia Springs at Bridgewater, 14901 Carey Rd., Westfield. She may be reached at 671-1844 or www.mag-springs.net.