Top Trends and Challenges in the Senior Living Industry

February 06, 2020

Moving into a new decade presents the opportunity for various industries to take stock in past achievements, and assess what worked and what failed. In 2020, however, the senior living industry is predicted to make significant shifts in its offerings and overall structure.

The primary reason? Generational preferences put pressure on assisted and independent living communities to evolve both internally and externally to meet the demands of this ever-changing market.

Here we take a look at the primary challenges and opportunities facing the senior living construction sector in 2020:

Challenge #1: Stabilizing occupancy rates

One particular challenge of the senior living industry will be how to stabilize occupancy rates. Overall, 2019 saw reasonably steady, albeit low, rates industry-wide; however, at the market level, there were significant occupancy differences, ranging from 77% to 94%, respectively, according to McKnight’s Senior Living.

Moving forward, the industry must evaluate how to stabilize occupancy rates at the macro level to impact the overall success.

Challenge #2: Well-informed marketing that relies on data

The advent of social media and mobile search means that seniors (and their adult children) are more informed and educated about the senior living industry than ever before.

Not only that, but the industry as a whole has access to more and better data than in years past. This data presents an opportunity for providers to do something with it.

Challenge #3: Seniors demand additional services and amenities

While the nursing home model of care is waning, senior living communities are trying to step away from the outdated stigmas of senior care and offer something brand new. Boomers are now at the age where long-term care is a topic of concern, and communities are taking note by providing attractive services and amenities.

From additional living options, such as co-living, to cultural and eco-friendly considerations, Boomers want to redefine senior care. Developers are taking note of this and providing many new services to the industry.

Challenge #4: Moving from unskilled to skilled labor

Quality of care is a significant marketing point and differentiator within a highly-competitive industry. Traditionally, the senior living industry employed unskilled laborers to meet the demands of each facility. While that is still true to some extent, many senior care providers have realized the need for better recruitment and retention practices to attract top talent and ultimately provide better care to its residents.

In the next decade, one anticipated shift within the industry is professional development and advancement opportunities within senior living staff. As a result of this practice, communities will be better able to meet the demands of a more selective residential population.

Challenge #5: Embracing technology

Technology is becoming a vital part of nearly everything we do, especially when it comes to healthcare. While that seems obvious, technology also maintains a steady presence in the daily lives of aging Boomers, with many viewing technology as a way to retain independence.

Many senior living providers will be expected to embrace changes in technology to help residents feel empowered and able to live their best lives while in care. Whether through the use of virtual assistants or computer and technology “hubs” on-site, care providers should also expect to become tech providers.

Senior living industry in 2020: where will it go

Indeed, Newbanks has been around long enough to see more than one generational shift at the senior care level. While we can’t predict the future, economists have studied the impact of the “silver tsunami” for years. The wave is now upon the senior living industry, as many are now at the age to make decisions about long-term care.

In looking at these challenges, it’s clear that the traditional models of nursing home care and assisted living are quickly becoming outdated and replaced with other options, better suited to meet the needs of this population. Construction, therefore, will only increase in the next few years.

As the number of construction projects continues to climb, Newbanks is the firm you want monitoring and handling your senior living community as it’s built. From due diligence to construction-related services, the professionals at Newbanks are poised to meet your needs, as well as the expectations of this particular market.

Curious about the types of assisted living communities in our portfolio? Click here and talk to one of our team members. We would love to learn more about your construction project and how we might help.