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2021 press releases

ICAA releases a conceptual framework for a reimagined senior living community designed for middle-income older adults

The secret to developing a new model of living for older adults revolves around lifestyle experiences

(Vancouver, BC) July 6, 2021. Where can older adults find an engaging lifestyle that is cost-effective and sustainable? The senior living organizations that offer both housing and services for people 65 years and older have an answer: develop communities that offer a bountiful lifestyle for a middle-class income while being equally cost-effective and sustainable for organizations.

The new model of communities will reach the large group of "middle income" older adults-those who are not wealthy but above poverty and low-income levels-through the combination of residence, amenities and services structured around the dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social, environmental, vocational.

To frame the model, aimed at middle-income boomers (born 1946-1964) and their elders, International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) convened over 70 industry thought leaders at the ICAA Forum, May 2021. The results of the meeting are captured in the ICAA Forum report, Wellness attracts the middle-income market, available at https://www.icaa.cc/conferenceandevents/forums/forumreports.htm

"The social isolation that occurred during the pandemic gave people a lot of time to think about what they value and how they want to live," says Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging. "Like everyone else, older adults became acutely aware of how much they missed getting together with friends and family or attending in-person events. Isolation also forced many of us to recognize how our lifestyles affect our mental and physical health. The new middle-income community is intended to answer that need for social connections."

As the attributes of a wellness-centered community for the middle-income market developed during the ICAA Forum, demographics and psychographics, economic considerations and revenue potential focused the following strategies:

  • Value and choice fuel the decision-making of people with middle incomes. They will expect a range of lifestyle experiences and dining options selected from an a la carte menu.
  • Residents will be engaged in developing the activities available at the property or coordinated with the larger community; many will likely work part-time or full-time because of desire or need. This added income helps make their lifestyles at the middle-income community possible.
  • The built environment will be comfortable and age-friendly rather than elegant, with common spaces easily adapted to different uses and regular access to the outdoors.
  • To respect older adults' desire to be independent, residences will be large enough to entertain family and friends. Smaller buildings and cottages were suggested.
  • As a neighborhood within a larger community, whether urban or rural, residents will access restaurants, libraries and services in the larger community while local nonresidents will pay fees to utilize the food service and other amenities on the property.
  • Some staff will be replaced by technology, whether because of sensor systems, robot deliveries or productivity tools. Wellness-oriented staff members will facilitate interactions and guide residents and customers to health-promoting choices; investment in staff compensation and training will influence recruitment and loyalty.
  • Dining and food services will be configured to accommodate residents and patrons from the larger community. Flexible pricing plans for dining will be available for residents, with bistros and coffee shops providing casual options.
  • Nursing care and assistance for people with a higher level of disability may not be offered, replaced by reliable technology for telemedicine and referrals to local providers. Or, residents will be able to receive assistance in their apartments or at a clinic on site, paying privately for the care.

An engaging lifestyle, reimagined dining, clever use of space and appropriate staffing can give residents and customers options to maintain their health, sense of well-being and life satisfaction. Those elements make a community very attractive to a person who looks for value, choice and autonomy.

"Providing a wellness lifestyle is the secret to meeting the needs, aspirations and expectations of the aging population," believes Milner at ICAA. "The executives who discussed the middle-income market opportunities recognized that they cannot return to business-as-usual, and that lifestyle and wellness offerings are expected by the boomer and middle-income populations. Wellness delivers the brand promise."

The complete results of the ICAA Forum May 2021, are available in the report, Wellness attracts the middle-income market. The report can be downloaded at https://www.icaa.cc/conferenceandevents/forums/forumreports.htm

The ICAA Forum was sponsored by Humana, PepsiCo, Morrison Living, iN2L, Matrix, Keiser, NuStep and LivBrite Today.

About the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA)
ICAA is a professional association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry and supports professionals who aspire to develop wellness cultures for adults over 50. This support includes creating wellness environments, programs and services. The association is focused on active aging—an approach to aging that helps older adults live life as fully as possible within all dimensions of wellness—and provides its members with education, information, resources and tools. As an active-aging educator and advocate, ICAA has advised numerous organizations and governmental bodies, including the US Administration on Aging, the National Institute on Aging (one of the US National Institutes of Health), the US Department of Health and Human Services, Canada’s Special Senate Committee on Aging, and the British Columbia (Canada) Ministries of Health and Healthy Living and Sport.

For more information or questions: Contact: Colin Milner, CEO, ICAA
Toll-free: 1-866-335-9777 (North America)
Telephone: 604-734-4466; cell: 604-763-4595


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