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Technology leads the way among emerging retirement living trends

November 5, 2013

As the senior population grows, retirement communities are taking steps to cater to this rapidly changing segment of the population. Today's older adults have much different expectations​ for senior living than those of the past, and a recent study from the consulting group Accent on Seniors detailed five of the emerging trends in the retirement community industry. The shifting landscape is indicative of what older adults look for in retirement - active aging, social interaction and continuing education opportunities, among others. 

Role of technology
Connectivity has become a staple in the lives of many seniors. Older adults are more tech-savvy than ever before, and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have helped seniors stay in close contact with friends and family. As a result, it should come as no surprise that retirement communities have been going to increasing lengths to make sure their residents can use the Internet with ease. According to the research, Wi-Fi hotspots and computer lounges have grown in numbers. This isn't the only way the senior living industry is adapting the latest tech, as everything from eco-friendly options to fall prevention systems have become more common.

"Residents will begin to have a choice in the technology packages that suit them," the study authors wrote in a white​ paper accompanying the study. "For example, a newly retired couple may sign up for the voice reminders for daily and weekly activities and a fall alert system."

Health and wellness
Although technology will play a big role in a healthy lifestyle for seniors in the future, it is not the only trend emerging in retirement communities around the country, the researchers found. Healthy activities such as lifelong learning and memory care are also growing in popularity. In fact, this trend may extend outside of retirement communities, with many colleges and universities implementing programs that cater specifically to older students. 

According to statistics from 2010 - the last year data was available - there were nearly 4 million students aged 35 and older in colleges in the U.S. That figure represents about a 20 percent jump from just four years earlier. Experts from the National Center for Education Statistics expect that figure to grow to about 4.1 million by 2015, ABC news reported.