The Census Bureau projects that the baby boomer population will total 61.3 million in 2029, when the youngest of the boomers reach age 65. Although the current boomers indicate a desire to remain at home, a planned schedule of recreational activities and amenities can sway decisions to move into a senior living community. Silverado’s Paul Mullin believes senior living will transition from a “real estate-based industry” into one that’s more “experience-based.”
How senior living communities adopt an innovative experience-based environment may stem from their core technology plans. According to a North American Technographics Benchmark Survey, up to 85% of residents are logged on to the internet for multiple reasons:
- 91% use email
- 59% purchase products online
- 49% maintain a Facebook account
- 56% send and receive photos by email
- 44% play games
The senior boomer population will only become increasingly familiar with technology as they age. The demand for faster, better, stronger offerings will force providers to focus on their strengths and differentiators. A consistent digital experience for residents is key to driving and maintaining occupancy over time. But technology without a streamlined business plan can create more problems. Disparate systems are already rampant, and adding experience products beyond that complicates things further. When developing your plans to address the growing consumer driven market, consider these three tips for success:
- Have the right stakeholders: Make time to get all the right people in the room at the same time to create one view of how you want to do business. Identify what makes your community different. Is there cohesion from community to community flowing from the corporate structure? What is the current technology landscape like? So much thought leadership goes into designing what you want your digital resident experience to look like. Consistency across all communities is primary to make an impact into the consumer market.
- Start now: There is no time like the present. Facilities routinely use up to 15 systems. IT planning has become critical to operational and financial success. Be aware of your systems’ contract expirations. Know where you are and what direction you want to go a minimum of 12 months prior. Don’t rely solely on vendors to design your digital landscape, but pull from your company plan to create your own ecosystem.
- Embrace change: Even when we know the outcome of the change will enhance overall efficiencies and care experiences, it’s often a challenge to complete the mission. Keep your eyes on the prizes: More active and happy communities; resident, family, and staff satisfaction; increased and stable occupancy; operational efficiencies that directly result in cost savings; and consumer awareness of what makes your company innovative.