Man on cell phone with dog on lap

Washington, DC-based Knollwood Life Plan Community has begun testing the viability of a holistic wellness program among 150 residents and their adult children. The rollout is part of a plan to better personalize programming, the community’s operator, the Army Distaff Foundation (ADF), has announced.

ADF, a non-profit which also develops and provides wellness services for seniors, is offering complimentary memberships to the Mighty Health program and app.

The aim is for residents, with the help of caregivers and family members as needed, to access the app on their phones or tablets and find opportunities to participate in activities that improve health and quality of life. These include personalized fitness plans, low-impact workouts, daily health coaching, customized nutrition plans and live community events, among others.

The three-month pilot program was introduced at Knollwood on June 28, with training attended by about 50 residents. ADF wanted its wellness offerings to go beyond group activities and classes, James Michels, VP-development and strategic partnerships, told McKnight’s Senior Living

“I wanted a solution that was personalized to the user, accessible anywhere, on demand,” he said.

At Knollwood, the pilot will help ADF understand what wellness resources its residents need and use, Michels added.  The idea is to encourage residents. a significant portion of whom are retired military service members, to stay active within their abilities, he said.

“When introducing new technology to older adults, it is important that the technology actually solves a problem that matters to [the end user],” he told McKnight’s in an email. “The decision to bring a technology to the community requires a deliberative, thorough process and explanation of the services and how it will work for the resident.”  

Wellness is trending

A growing trend toward integrating wellness activities in senior living communities accelerated during the pandemic, becoming a high priority among operators. In fact, a recent survey from the International Council on Active Aging found that 61% senior living and care organizations are planning to base their community ethos on a wellness lifestyle with options for care by 2025. 

“As more older adults enter communities, the expectation for innovative, personalized wellness programming has only continued,” Michels said. “The growth in age tech services is very much a part of the retirement or life plan community’s service model, especially so for ADF because we are a 501c3 charity founded with that mission in mind.”

ADF connected with San-Francisco-based Mighty Health while participating in the AARP Innovation Labs’ AgeTech Collaborative, which connects startups and industry to generate new ideas to benefit older adults. 

“People often think of older adults as not being able to benefit from apps and other digital health technologies, but these can actually be excellent tools for managing health — no matter your age,” said James Li, CEO of Mighty Health.