Wellness Industry Revitalizes Opportunities for Older Adults

The pandemic has had a big impact on older adult services and long-term health care, changing how care and services are provided. Wellness is becoming a focus for care recipients and the staff providing care.

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Wellness Industry Revitalizes Opportunities for Older Adults
3 Min Read June 7th, 2022

Growing lifespans and the increase in the number of people who need help with daily living activities or supervision due to cognitive decline. Longevity means long-term health care providers must consider ways to deliver quality care and quality of life to care recipients. 

The experience of the COVID-19 virus crisis showed some care providers were not prepared for a pandemic of this nature. The impact of the pandemic on care recipients and their families was front and center. However, there was a substantial impact on the caregivers and support staff. These frontline staff faced tremendous stress doing their jobs while keeping everyone safe from infection, including themselves and their families.

The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) surveyed 459 members and associates to take the temperature of industry leadership and staff members to assist organizations with housing, services, and programs for older adults.

Wellness a Priority

The survey shows a majority of respondents (81%) say wellness needs to be a high or essential priority. There seems to be a recognition that older adults' longer health spans, longer work lives, and active lifestyles are the future.

The ICAA 'State of the Wellness Industry 2022' report details the status of wellness culture, wellness programs, priorities, budgets and staffing, plans for remodeling and building, and public access to facilities. 

"Wellness is defined by ICAA as 'our ability to understand, accept and act upon our identity and capacity to lead a purpose-filled and engaged life...so we can embrace our potential to pursue and optimize life's possibilities,'" said Colin Milner, CEO of International Council on Active Aging.

Colin Milner

Milner says department heads and staff members can apply that philosophy to their work.

Shouldn't each individual's purpose-filled and engaged life be the goal for everyone working at an organization with services for older adults?

 Colin Milner

A significant commitment to wellness is forecast to shift industry models in senior living (continuing care/life plan and independent living communities, and assisted living or memory care, many with nursing services). Among 242 senior living and care organizations, 61% of respondents believe that by 2025 the community will be based on a wellness lifestyle with options for care, especially for those working with independent older adults as opposed to those in a long-term care environment. 

Recruiting and staffing wellness positions, along with all others, is a significant challenge. Although some organizations have budgeted for additional staff members, filling open positions with qualified candidates has been difficult.

In organizations where executives give wellness a high or essential priority, onsite lifestyle programs, recruiting and retaining staff members, onsite food service/dining, and technology or technology infrastructure are being emphasized.

Culture of Wellness

Just over half of the survey respondents (53%) said the organization where they work is based on a culture of wellness. This culture of wellness includes executives, staff members, and the older adults they serve. The services and experiences enable clients, residents, and members to participate in life-affirming choices.

The survey showed that about 71% of older adults attend indoor wellness programs; 58% participate in outdoor programs. Those who participate in in-person may also join virtual wellness programs at home (46%) or with others in a public space or recreation center (36%).

Wellness staff members plan to feature emotional, social, and spiritual wellness in their programs. The pandemic has shown how important these are.

Technology will be an essential integration into programs, services, and facilities. Organizational plans for 2022-2023 are to add technology infrastructure and capabilities to current buildings (62%), redesign/remodel current public rooms (40%), and design and build new buildings (34%) or add new additions to existing buildings (25%).

Worldwide Aging

Professionals who work with older adults are committed to maintaining and improving the services and lifestyles they offer. More people will need these services as Generation X, and Late-Boomers continue to age, with the remaining Baby Boomers growing older. There are 136.8 million people in the U.S. in these generations. Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have a large number of GenX and Late-Boomers who are aging. 

The entire world is getting older. According to a report published by Cushman & Wakefield, more than 693 million Baby Boomers worldwide will reach retirement age in the next decade. The eldest of Generation X will reach 65 years of age, while the leading edge of Millennials will be approaching 50. A 50-year-old Millennial? It seems very distant, yet it will become a reality in just 11 years.

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

The numbers of people getting older are overwhelming. Once you get into your 40s, you usually understand that aging needs a plan. Part of retirement planning requires a solution for future declining health, mobility problems, and dementia.

The consequences of aging are numerous and affect you, your family, and your finances. Dependence on family caregivers is unrealistic due to the physical and emotional demands that these caregivers face. Attempting to juggle jobs, families, and caregiving isn't easy, which is an understatement. 

Long-term health care costs are exploding, and inflation is adding to these costs. Greater demand for services, higher labor costs, and increasing general cost of doing business all play into these increasing costs.

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows the current and future financial impact. However, long-term health care is more than just about money. The quality of care, quality of life, and the impact on loved ones are all concerns. Without a plan, your family is in crisis. 

Long-Term Care Insurance will provide the guaranteed tax-free benefits that give you access. Access to quality care services in your desired setting - including at home. Your income, assets, lifestyle, and legacy will be protected. You will enjoy the quality of care you deserve. Your loved ones will have the time to be family and not caregivers.

Some people believe they can wait until they need a plan. However, don't delay. Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten, so you must have reasonably good health to qualify for coverage. Premiums are calculated in part by your age when you obtain your policy - the younger, the better.

Most people get Long-Term Care Insurance coverage in their 50s to take advantage of lower costs and easier underwriting. You might have questions about long-term health care planning and LTC NEWS answers many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News.

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Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

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Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.

One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.

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Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

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If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance. 

Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. 

If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation. 

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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