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February 23, 2024

Adapting Assisted Living for an Aging Population

Category: Aging In Place

Author: Emily Hornback, Director of Wellness

As the global population ages, it will bring both opportunities and challenges for senior living. The projected number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to double from 46 million to over 98 million by 2060. It will be the first time in history the number of older adults outnumbers children under age five. In addition, older adults will live longer than ever before. One out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90. These remarkable gains are due to improved public health, better nutrition, and better healthcare.

With many people now expected to live into their nineties or beyond, there will be many new challenges and questions to answer. Even though people are living longer, they are not necessarily living healthier. The nature of the assisted living prospect has changed dramatically over the past 15 years, with even greater changes to come. The senior living industry, including The Parkway Senior Living, will need to consider ways to adapt to residents with more complex and extended chronic care needs.

Some ways to adapt to residents with more complex needs include additional staff training. Not only will staff need the skills to care for residents progressing in their disease processes, but they will also need to understand how to quickly identify changes in their condition. Being proactive in this effort will allow teams to provide the care the residents need precisely when they need it.

Third-party vendors will be crucial to helping our assisted living staff be proactive. 

The following will be crucial for caring for a resident population:

  • with increasing care needs
  • trusted and reliable home health providers
  • rehab therapy teams
  • medical providers
  • behavioral health services

These vendors provide resident-specific care needed to help older adults continue to thrive in the assisted living environment.

Director of Wellness Discusses Caring for an Aging Population

Some strategies that will help us adapt to the aging population with more complex and extended chronic care issues include looking at it from a statistical and resident-centered perspective. Statistics allows us to keep up with medical data. Involving the residents typically leads to more participation in their care and better outcomes. As the aging population changes through different generations, so do their chronic care issues.

We can prepare and educate our staff to care for a population with more significant needs by preparing and educating our team by looking at evidence-based practices (EBP) for the best approach to these concerns. After reviewing EBP, the team lead should provide an in-service with other members, including the resident. Involving residents allows team members to put a face to the training and enables residents to explain how they would like to be supported.

It is more important than ever to take a proactive approach when a change in condition occurs with a resident. To ensure our teams recognize even small changes within residents, we should utilize the Stop and Watch tool, an excellent way for all team members, including non-clinical staff, to review and report if they believe a change of condition has occurred. This tool is then turned in to the nurse to assess the resident’s needs further.

Communication is key! 

Once we identify a change, the next step is to notify the appropriate parties. The team can then offer support from all levels and departments.

Caring for a sicker population in an assisted living setting is a challenging issue that requires a multifaceted approach. Aging in place is an important goal for an older adult and should also be a priority of the senior living industry. To meet this goal, we must ensure we can fulfill the needs of our aging residents.

The Parkway Senior Living in Blue Springs, MO offers senior villas, independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near St. Mary’s Medical Center and St. Luke’s Eastwith convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Adams Point Golf Course, KC Royals Stadum, KC Chiefs Stadium, Sporting KC, KC Comets, KC Mavericks, Adams Dairy Landing, and Blue Springs Parks, Trails, and Lakes .

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