February 23, 2024

Caring for an Aging Population: Challenges and Solutions

Category: Wellness

Author: Cristy Kay, Regional 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 healthierThe 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 Arrow 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 identify changes in their condition quickly. 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.

Regional Director of Wellness Discusses Caring for an Aging Population

A strategy to help us adapt to the aging population is to continue educating our staff on caring for complex and extended chronic care issues. Also, we should promote proactive health management. The therapy groups we have partnered with are excellent resources for being proactive vs reactive.

Continuing to provide in-service support and training can help us prepare and educate our staff to care for a population with more significant needs. Our therapy groups offer valuable resources for this purpose. Additionally, in-person training sessions conducted by our hospice and home health companies can enhance our staff’s skills.

We focus on getting to know our residents through discovery, social, and engagement profiles. We can ensure our teams recognize small changes within them. These changes can be captured in our up-to-date care plans. Essential communication with families and staff is crucial for identifying slight changes that the Director of Wellness needs to be aware of. Involving all departments in communication ensures that observations, such as those made by the culinary team, are appropriately noted by wellness staff.

Communication is key!

Identifying a change, conducting a thorough assessment, and communicating with therapy, family, physician, and staff are essential steps to ensure we have everything we need. This process is in place to help the resident return to baseline. Then, modifications are made to adapt to the resident’s change.

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.

Saint Charles, Missouri-based Arrow Senior Living manages a portfolio of communities that offer varying levels of care, including independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Each and every senior living community supports residents by focusing on dignity, respect, and quality of life. The programs and amenities offered are selected to provide only the highest standard of quality and comfort.

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