The impact of the baby boom generation on the future of the senior living industry cannot be understated. As a response to this impending wave of new residents, assisted living communities are being forced to become more operationally efficient. The senior living industry is changing from the inside out— transitioning from paper files to software systems –and reshaping the way we think about, and provide, elder care in the process.
To get a sense of this tidal shift and expansion of the spectrum of care we need only look to the organization formerly known as ALFA (Assisted Living Federation of America). ALFA, which has been an invaluable resource to care professionals and consumers alike for 25+ years, rebranded as Argentum, the Latin word for “silver,” in December 2015.
Integral to this paradigm shift is the emergence of CCRCs (Continuing Care Retirement Communties) in the senior living market. In the press release corresponding to its name change, Argentum President and CEO James Balda said,
“Since ALFA’s formation 25 years ago, the senior living industry has undergone many changes, and is primed for many more as baby boomers begin to use our services. Our brand transformation better represents where the industry is today as well as our vision for the future.”
This isn’t the only notable makeover to hit the senior living industry. In November 2015, LeadingAge chose to officially recognize the term “Life Plan Community” as a replacement for “Continuing Care Retirement Community.”
LeadingAge made the change after a two-year research and workshop process, seeing the new title as more representative of the spirit of the incoming boomer generation. Explaining their deliberation on the smartly-named lifeplancommunity.org, LeadingAge notes,
“Since they were teens, the boomers have done things differently. So it’s no surprise they’re revolutionizing retirement, and reinventing themselves and the senior living field. To meet the needs of this generation, senior living communities have transformed from care providers into vibrant villages offering a range of residential options, along with new opportunities for creative, educational and personal exploration. Clearly, the name Continuing Care Retirement Community no longer describes the vibrant, forward-looking nature of the contemporary senior living community, which is really a Life Plan Community.”
Organizations like Argentum and LeadingAge are reframing the conversation around senior living. Elder care is getting younger, and CCRCs are offering a continuum of care that appeals to the aging boomer crowd.
Factors contributing to the CCRC’s growing market presence:
- Stability of land and property values. Many of the existing CCRCs are ambitiously expanding. Improvements on existing campuses are now an outright necessity– communities need to maintain their grounds and broaden their offerings in this competitive marketplace.
- Rebounding economy and housing market. Sellers are in a better position than any time since the collapse of 2007, and buyers (including CCRCs) are approaching the market with increased confidence and rebounding net worth/credit ratings.
- Sophisticated software. Smart software solutions are enabling the expansion of CCRCs by accommodating the fluidity embodied in a CCRC campus—where residents age and move within a community while needing their information to follow them.
These factors are only part of the reason why it’s so important to have software systems that are integrated, responsive, flexible, and versatile. Assisted living communities and CCRCs are in need of an integrated technology profile that can meet all of their varied needs simultaneously.
Recently, American HealthTech & Medtelligent teamed up to offer a comprehensive software solution to better serve this growing market. The companies have formed a strategic partnership, and are working to provide groundbreaking integrations between their existing targeted solutions for skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities, aimed at Continuing Care Retirement Communities.
The benefits of this project, which combines Medtelligent’s expertise in the assisted living arena with AHT’s industry-leading electronic health record, highlight the best-of-breed strategy that is flourishing in the existing marketplace.
The differences between the ways skilled nursing, assisted living, and independent living communities run may seem similar from the outside, when in fact anyone working in these settings knows they’re essentially night and day. Rather than trying to find one single solution to fit the needs of every setting, forward-thinking communities are looking to tightly integrated solutions between targeted software to meet their real-life needs.
Major benefits to integrating these best-of-breed solutions for senior living communities:
- True community oriented health care. Shared resident data ensures that critical information doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, and allows for cooperation and coordination across the spectrum of care – for hospitals working with nursing homes, nursing homes working with assisted living and so on.
- Gain in both profit and efficiency. Consistent and integrated resident assessments guarantee that the appropriate levels for both care and billing plans are assigned.
- Greater data accuracy. Operators no longer need to piece together information on unique forms, from different companies, in a bunch of folders. An integrated solution helps to decrease instances of human error and physical loss.
- Smoother operations. An integrated best-of-breed platform encourages strong communication between teams, decreases time wasted on double data entry between programs, and adds the ability to track a resident across multiple locations and levels of care.
As the baby boomers keep flooding into communities across the country, and operations become more electronic, operators will seek out integrated solutions to maximize efficiency and ensure the best care for their residents. If you are an operator of an assisted living community, a CCRC or a skilled nursing community and want more information on ALIS, AHT, or the integrated solution, click here.