With all of the work orders and busy routines, it can be tough to stay on top of the latest trends in facility management. So this week, we’ve done the work for you. We’ve assembled three unexpected assisted living trends for facility managers to consider in 2019. Now’s the perfect time to sit down, take a quick coffee break and get up to speed on what’s new in the senior living industry!
1. Using Technology to Improve Lifelong Learning Opportunities for Seniors
Many of today’s seniors embrace lifelong learning and enjoy seeking out new challenges that keep their brains healthy and active. Research shows that mentally-stimulating activities are an important part of maintaining a sharp mind in older age. In fact, some studies even show that learning activities can delay (or even compensate for) age-related health conditions:
One study showed that participating in new activities can effectively boost memory skills in senior citizens.
Another research study found that seniors who engage in mentally-stimulating activities (such as reading or playing games) are 2.5 times less likely to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Many assisted living residents enjoy discovering new skills, exploring hobbies and attending classes as a way to continue lifelong learning. Hosting educational activities can help decrease depression, improve quality of life and strengthen self-confidence and social connections between residents.
What Facility Managers Can Do: The good news is that many assisted living facilities already have a multi-use event space on campus. These areas are perfect for hosting educational activities and classes. For electronic-based programming — such as playing educational videos, hosting slideshow presentations or showing a live-stream speaker — you’ll need a projector, a large projection screen and a robust audio system for optimal learning (especially for individuals who have difficulty seeing and hearing). Facility managers can make learning spaces even more desirable by providing comfortable seating options, which will help reduce fatigue and encourage focus.
2. Incorporating Biophilic Design Into Indoor Social Spaces
Biophilic design is a fancy word for decorating your assisted living facility with plants and greenery. Not only are plants visually appealing, they’re also beneficial to human health. Research tells us that interior landscaping can provide a pleasant, tranquil environment in which residents can live, relax and socialize.
A study found that indoor plants can promote mental wellbeing. The study’s results showed that indoor plants can reduce feelings of anxiety and tension by 37%, depression by 58%, anger and hostility by 44%, and fatigue by 38%. The report says that even one plant per room can provide a significant lift in occupant spirits.
Biophilic design doesn’t just benefit mental and physical health. Plants can also provide fresh oxygen to the air, filter air pollutants, provide humidity and offer gentle, natural scents to indoor spaces. Overall, indoor greenery is a great way to connect residents with nature, promote health and provide peaceful spaces.
What Facility Managers Can Do: Plants and flowers can enliven a room, but be careful. Placing certain plants in shared assisted living environments can trigger allergies. When choosing greenery for indoor spaces, facility managers should take care to choose plants with low pollen content. A few allergy-friendly plants include succulents, tulips, roses, daffodils, peace lilies, bamboo palm, devil’s ivy, pansies, irises and orchids. Use a facility management software with custom scheduling capabilities to keep track of care instructions and water schedules for each plant type.
3. Taking Steps Towards Eco-Friendly Facilities Operations
Today, environmental awareness is becoming more mainstream in the facility management and healthcare industries. As cost concerns continue to affect assisted living facilities, the economic advantages of going green continue to become more apparent.
Many forward-thinking retirement communities are already taking steps to become more eco-friendly, implementing everything from green building design and energy-efficient lighting, to community gardens and recycling programs.
Some assisted living facilities that make an effort to improve the local environment can take advantage of tax credits, which can be taken for energy efficiency, reduced emissions, solar energy and other green efforts.
Assisted living communities that adopt green facility management measures could see an increase in resident populations, especially from eco-conscious consumers. Plus, they can take pride in knowing the green products and initiatives they use are positively benefiting their facility’s operations and budget.
What Facility Managers Can Do: Facility managers know that saving money is an important part of staying within an available budget. One way to save hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars a year is to make sustainable, eco-friendly changes to everyday operations. From natural cleaning products to energy-efficient windows, there are countless ways to help your assisted living facility become more environmentally-friendly. Click here for a free download of The Facility Manager’s Eco-Friendly Operations Checklist, which lists 30 ways go green in 2019.
Free Ebook for Assisted Living Facility Managers
AkitaBox makes staying on top of the latest trends in assisted living facility management easy! You can find everything you need to know in our latest free ebook, the 2019 Guide to the Maintenance and Management of Assisted Living Facilities. In this resource, we’ve included a variety of vital statistics, current trends and a crucial three-step methodology to help facility managers care for and maintain their buildings more efficiently. Learn more about the ebook and its contents here.
What trends or changes have you noticed in the assisted living industry? Let us know by leaving a comment below!