The world of senior living has gone through an accelerated transformation with the events of the past year. As we begin to look forward, it’s clear that residents’ expectations have not just changed but have significantly leapt forward in certain areas, especially in technology. Lockdowns and social distancing guidance made it apparent that basic tech solutions are no longer enough to keep residents satisfied. Those changes have drastically altered what they look for — and need — in a living space.
The new tech expectations
The days of simply displaying a daily activity schedule as a tech amenity are gone — at least for senior living properties that want to attract increasingly tech-savvy seniors and their families. In fact, data from the AARP shows that adults over 50 are adopting newer forms of technology at almost the same rate as adults in the 18-49 age bracket, highlighting the demand for new technology options from a group that is typically underserved in that department.
Today, there is a whole new set of expectations when it comes to tech, including an increased demand for devices that can make their lives a little simpler. From voice-activated remotes that manage TVs to video feeds from around the property that allow residents to see whether the pool or dining areas are too crowded, residents quickly are realizing the increased convenience those tools can bring to their everyday lives.
As older adults become more tech-savvy, properties can differentiate themselves and target them by adopting solutions to enhance their living experiences.
Smart home amenities such as lights, home appliances, locks, leak detectors and more offer residents increased convenience, personalization and control over their environment. The benefits of smart devices go beyond just residents — they also help the property management team by centralizing certain functions into a single portal that allows them to maximize their time and focus on more value-add activities that improve the resident experience.
Smart technologies require a strong network that can manage all those devices without service delays or interruptions. As a result, high-speed internet and a reliable network always must be the foundation for any senior living communities’ tech plans.
What should senior living properties do?
The past year has emphasized the importance of remaining connected to family, friends and work. As the current generation of residents embraces technology more than ever before and enter their retirement years in larger numbers, senior living properties have the chance to position themselves for greater success by providing their residents with an improved living experience.
The time is now for senior living communities to re-evaluate their current technology offerings and update their solutions to bring more interactive, custom technology to residents. How senior living communities adapt and respond to those behavioral changes will dictate their ability to differentiate themselves and compete in this market. A strong network will be the cornerstone of those efforts, and smart technology and next-generation entertainment options will set them apart.
Adrian Adriano is vice president of residential sales and marketing at Xfinity Communities, a Comcast housing technology division that serves senior living communities and other multifamily properties.
The opinions expressed in each McKnight’s Senior Living marketplace column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Senior Living.