Why Should Senior Living Communities Start Planning for the Future Today?

Throughout their lives, baby boomers have been known for changing norms and revolutionizing the world. That will continue to be in their expectations for senior living. More than 10,000 baby boomers are flooding into retirement daily, and ultimately into senior living at some place in the senior care spectrum. They are accustomed to using technology to their benefit, and they will be expecting quality services that include all that information technology (IT) has to offer.

Senior living organizations that don’t keep up with these changes will face negative market implications, and won’t be in a position to survive in an increasingly competitive senior care environment. Senior living communities that recognize the importance of preparing for the baby boomers will require the infrastructure to support the technology that boomers are expecting from their senior living experience.

Many senior living communities only build their systems around their current infrastructure. But because of the rapid development of bigger and better IT offerings for both elder care residents and the communities where they reside, this can lead to frustration down the line.

To keep abreast of the changes, building out an infrastructure that is more robust than what is currently needed is essential. To take it a step further, senior living operators should not build their infrastructure for what is wanted, but for what could be wanted: IT that has not yet been developed. A scalable infrastructure is an essential part of planning for the future—one that is able to support not only the business requirements needed today, but also the services that may be available and wanted tomorrow.

The Financial Benefits of Strong Infrastructure

A sound infrastructure is the foundation for the use of advanced care technology. More seniors are seeking care that provides the most technology has to offer, senior living homes that choose to stay abreast of these changes and demands will maximize their potential for resident retention, and thus have the greatest impact on their bottom line.

Though budget is always an element of IT planning that cannot be ignored, there are creative ways for planning an infrastructure with scalability to meet a budget – and budget concerns should not deter a senior living executive from exploring ways to expand infrastructure that will suit the future. Through careful analysis of resources, IT experts can help a senior living organization create a customized plan for its technology use. Spending money on a better infrastructure and proactively planning for changes to come is always more cost effective than waiting for IT troubles to arise.

Facilitated ACO Participation and Value-Based Care

Likewise, money spent up front to invest in electronic health records will allow a senior living community to participate in “value-based care:” care that is delivered, in part, through accountable care organizations (ACOs). Participation in an ACO is fast becoming a necessity, not an option, for senior living homes that want to survive in today’s changing healthcare reimbursement landscape.

Though being part of an ACO will cost money initially—through the purchase of electronic health records, applications, and infrastructure to improve care—in the end, it will make money for the senior living organization that gets on board.

Planning ahead by creating the IT infrastructure necessary to support expanded health, care, and quality-of-life technology is essential to thriving in the changing market. Despite the challenges, today’s senior care market is more exciting than ever before. Resident satisfaction, independence, and safety can be advanced to new heights through the use of technology and its supporting infrastructure. Senior living organizations that embrace technology to expand care will succeed in the dawning age of the baby boomers’ senior years.

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