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Feb 07, 2024

Heading into the Retirement Living Services Era

The Retirement Living Council's recently published Better Housing for Better Health Report identifies the need for the continuation of the expansion of retirement living services.
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Moving into the Services era

In the Retirement Living sector, we have seen many iterations of village composition. Starting with the benevolent era, primarily smaller groups of flats/units offering affordable housing. In the 1980’s we moved into the lifestyle village era where villages were predominantly greenfield sites with expansive communal facilities.

Since the early 2000’s we have seen the emergence of high-end and high-rise villages. However, post-COVID we are heading into a “retirement living services era” where regardless of the physical infrastructure, our future residents will have a stronger desire, interest and demand for the services a village can provide or facilitate.

The report supports this view stating that “For a long time the retirement living industry was traditionally focused on real estate but has now transitioned to a sector that is providing care, well-being and support services”.

By providing an array of facilities and services, retirement communities are said to have the ability to reduce barriers to physical activity and social engagement.

The report outlines:

  • 50% of retirement communities feature a well-being service or offer visiting health professionals or nurses or allied health services
  • Residents remain approximately 15% more frequently active than those independently in the community
  • Residents are 20% less likely to be hospitalised while living in a retirement community
  • Residents are five times more socially active
  • Residents are twice as likely to get together with family and friends
  • Residents are physically and mentally healthier and importantly 41% happier

Increase sense of community

Loneliness, inactivity and depression among older Australians are a growing area of concern. Older Australians can face loneliness and unique mental health care challenges as they age, decreased interaction with others coupled with often complex health issues and perceived lower control of their life can be a risk factor for low mental health.

Retirement communities are addressing these issues with data showing that residents spend more time with family and friends and are happier and more socially active when they have the ability to access facilities and services that support well-being and social connection.

Social interaction helps increase the sense of community, friendship and social identity among older Australians.

Retirement operators have the ability to reduce barriers to physical activity and social connection through a variety of mechanisms – through providing recreational infrastructure, well-being & social programs and access to an array of complimentary retirement living services.

However, what if operators had the ability to not only reduce the barriers but also to encourage participation and accessibility?

The significance of technology

Technology will play a significant role in the ability for operators to expand their service offerings and accessibility of services to residents choosing to live in retirement communities. Technology drives engagement, whether as a source of information, a connection to social activities, a mechanism to book a service, contribute to decision-making or the ability to participate in everyday village life.

Retirement communities of the future will be expected to offer a digital solution that enables residents to communicate, participate and access information, services and communications from anywhere and at any time.

The role of retirement living services and technology go hand in hand, it becomes even more important as residents age and progress through various cycles of health. Retirement village operators will need to ensure that part of their service offering and delivery strategies moving forward are supported by technology that allows residents the opportunity to engage and connect.

Get in touch with our team to find out how our Retirement Living Software can assist in enhancing and expanding your service provision to your residents.

February 7, 2024

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