Although most baby boomers are still a decade or so away from sweeping into the senior living environment, every year brings more of them into the fold and their influence is being felt everywhere. From design to technology to lifestyle, this age cohort with over $2 trillion in buying power is forcing companies to reassess how to offer senior living services.
Boomers are used to dining out with friends, which calls for restaurant-style dining facilities and menus. They also appreciate the casual convenience of coffee shops with Internet access and quick snack options that let them grab a bite on the go. Baby boomers are also attuned to healthy choices and ingredients, and they are attracted to the perceived benefits of locally sourced options and farm-to-table quality. Diets that are designed for senior health and longevity, whether for heart health or maintaining cognitive acuity, can have wide appeal.
Using food as a business opportunity.
Similar to the way a bakery uses the smell of fresh pastries to drawing customers, successful CCRC’s are using dining innovations to attract prospects and secure leads for future business. According to Senior Housing News, one business has done well by opening its station-style restaurant to the community-at-large for a weekday lunch crowd that typically fills the venue. Another facility in California hosts a booth at the area's annual “Taste of…” event to allow the community to sample the quality of their dining choices. Other properties are branding everything from coffee to wine in order to give residents and visitors a personalized experience and develop loyalty with prospects.
Cooking classes are a popular way for senior communities to showcase the quality of their culinary expertise. They can be held at area venues such as hotels and health centers, or they can take place on the grounds of the community itself to give the class attendees a chance to have a close-up look at the amenities.
Brain healthy dining offers the next step for health-conscious prospects.
The current crop of senior living prospects are focused on health and longevity, and connecting wellness programs with the dining experience can be a winning combination. Providing seniors with the option to choose nutritious, brain healthy menu items through programs such as MemoryMeals®, and then using nutrition as the platform for other lifestyle goals, can help establish a community as a leader in both physical and mental wellness for seniors.
Giving consumers what they want will be the main driver in building senior living business in the near future. Since they clearly want new dining options, offering choices that are both delicious and healthy will be a sure recipe for success in the coming years.