The Center for Disease Control states that developmental disabilities in adults have been on the rise, partly due to the aging of the population and partly attributable to an uptick in developmental delays other than autism or intellectual disability.  Adult residential facilities address the care of the adult population aged 18-59 with such needs.

Adult residential facilities can be quite profitable investments if the operator is fiscally capable and the level of care is high enough.  Levels of care range from Level 1, 2, 3 and 4a-4i, with the higher numbers corresponding to a greater level of care and higher pay-for-services.

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Demographics:  Demand for senior housing and care is predominantly driven by a combination of the following factors: age, frailty, wealth, income from the senior population, and the desire to live in a seniors housing community. Generally, the higher the concentration of these factors in the resident population, the higher the demand for senior living services and accommodations. The most prominent demand trend is the growing senior population resulting from the baby boom.   Baby boomers are actively moving into 55+ independent living properties. 

The typical age for seniors entering assisted living facilities is 80, and it is expected that the average senior will require 3.5 years of assisted care.  The first baby boomers will turn 80 in 2026, and investors are developing, building, and buying now in preparation for this influx.  These boomers directly affect demand for assisted living and skilled nursing facilities because they are the adult children of today’s residents.

An important factor contributing to the increasing demand for seniors housing is increased life expectancy. The recent emphasis on healthy, active lifestyles has led to seniors living longer. This lifestyle increases the length of time they stay in a seniors housing community and shapes expectations of what senior living should be like.

Another important analysis in demographics for some forms of seniors housing is seniors’ adult children, who often participate in decision-making on behalf of their parents. Their financial resources, well-being, and geographic residence location should be considered.

Memory care:   It is estimated that approximately 13.8 million people aged 65 and older may be afflicted with Alzheimer’s by 2050, triple what it is today.  Medical research in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is being conducted by leading universities and research facilities, hoping to find a breakthrough that will reverse this trend.  Baby boomers will drive the demand for more specialized memory care facilities, as Alzheimer’s and other dementias can affect seniors at an earlier age than other age-related diseases and infirmities.

Geographic considerations:  There is a need throughout the United States, in both large and small population centers, for senior care properties.  In areas where there is a large concentration of seniors and their adult children, the greater demand for senior housing will drive development of additional resources to meet the needs of the aging population.

Design of senior care facilities:  Gone are the days when Granny entered a nursing home and contentedly sat in a rocking chair for her remaining years.  This may have been acceptable in the past, but today’s senior consumers (and their adult children) demand more out of their living situations.  There is a demand for facilities that keep today’s seniors active and engaged, with a better quality of life and also a longer life.  The senior care properties today offer many more amenities, including beauty and nail salons, special activities, and chef-prepared culinary adventures. 

Changing demand:  One of the most notable changes over the past two decades is the shift from an institutional style facility to a more modern approach with a higher quality physical environment.  This means a greater level of services and a more comprehensive standard of care is demanded of operators to keep seniors and their adult children satisfied.

Design of care facilities:  In order to meet the growing demand, many of today’s facilities are being redesigned to offer more inviting atmospheres that are attractive and conducive to cognitive functioning.  For example, some memory care facilities now incorporate touches of nostalgia from days long past, such as 1950s-style soda fountains and juke boxes.  There have been studies that have shown that those with memory impairments function well cognitively in these simulated environments, and may act like younger versions of themselves before they suffered cognitive decline.  There is also an emphasis on more natural designs, with touches of nature brought indoors to achieve more harmony.  These have been shown to improve cognitive functioning, reduce the level of anxiety and improve mood.

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