Report: Wellness activities improve resident satisfaction, length of stay

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Residents in independent living, assisted living and continuing care retirement communities* are highly satisfied with the quality of life at their communities in part because of their participation in a wellness program (fitness, activities and recreation), according to a new report. The research also found that these residents tend to stay in their communities for an average two years longer than other residents.

“These benchmark results are consistent with other large-scale studies ProMatura has completed,” said Margaret Wylde, Ph.D., CEO of ProMatura Group, which conducted the study with the International Council on Active Aging. “The data confirm that customers (residents) who continue to actively maintain their fitness, flexibility and interaction with others are happier with their lives and the community in which they live.”

The perceptions of nearly 3,000 residents surveyed about life at their communities in relation to their participation in a wellness program are included in the first ICAA/ProMatura Wellness National Benchmarks Report. Key points: 

  • In continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), 77% of the residents who have participated in a wellness program said they are satisfied/very satisfied with the program. 
  • 84% of the wellness participants in CCRCs said they are very satisfied/satisfied with their overall quality of life at the community. Forty-five percent of participating residents said that taking part in a wellness program has made them much more satisfied with their overall quality of life at the community.
  • In communities offering independent living or a combination of independent plus assisted living, 84% of residents who participate in a wellness program said they are satisfied/very satisfied with it.
  • 94% of the participating residents in independent living or independent plus assisted living properties said they are satisfied/very satisfied with their overall quality of life at the community, and 44% said that they are much more satisfied with their quality of life because of the community's wellness program.
  • Forty-eight percent of CCRC participants and 43% of participants in independent living or independent plus assisted living communities said they agree/strongly agree that the wellness program was one of the primary reasons they selected the particular community in which they live.

New data collected by benchmark communities found that wellness participants have lived an average of almost two years longer in independent living and assisted living and one year longer in memory care when compared with the average length of stay of all residents (both participants and nonparticipants).

“Communities that facilitate their customers' desires to live well through fitness and health programs, equipment, experts and encouragement also engender greater loyalty and an enduring relationship with the customer,” Wylde said.

“Their findings have shown, and continue to support, the need for older adults to remain engaged in all aspects of life,” said Colin Milner, CEO of the ICAA. “Communities that allow their residents to stay engaged are well-positioned to be home for consumers who seek to live their lives, as best they can, no matter their abilities, situation or socioeconomic status.”

The ICAA/ProMatura Wellness Benchmarks National Report results are the aggregate of input from 62 CCRCs and 24 independent living or independent and assisted living communities. Included is a profile of the amenities offered in benchmark communities, average length of stay of wellness participants compared with the entire resident population, staffing ratios, residents' self-rated health and resident's perception of the value of the entire community. The 34-page national report is available by contacting the ICAA at (866) 335-9777, (604) 734-4466 or info@icaa.cc.

**At the 2015 LeadingAge annual meeting, a replacement term for CCRC, life plan community, was introduced with the plan of gradually phasing it in to refer to the category.

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