Harmony Healthcare Blog

Fitness Storefronts for Active Aging

Posted by David McCarron on Thu, Jan 28, 2016

Edited by Kris Mastrangelo

DMcCarron_Image.jpgSenior Providers that want to define the next chapter for aging  should consider developing Fitness Storefronts on site or along main street to maximize, differentiate, & engage with local opportunities.

Lead or Exit

There are really only two scenarios for senior living providers that are preparing for the next generation of consumers. They will either rise to the challenge of re-branding their products and services -  for a growing customer base that wants to feel and stay youthful - or they will be replaced by new entrants offering home and community-based services in a more age neutral and tech savvy way. It doesn’t matter if you are 92, 62 or 32; we are all looking for opportunities to age well. What an incredible platform for expanding your business footprint across generations!

Getting Off the Senior Living Island

Consider key exhibiting trends that are redefining the Senior Living Industry.  First and foremost, there is clearly a growing case for convergence, or integration of housing, care and age cohorts. Secondarily, advancing technologies make it easier for new entrants that want to ride the disruption wave and help to personalize (a more mobile) healthcare and lifestyle experience for all ages. Amidst these macro influences, it is easier to admit that home and community based services represent an essential component of senior living – and one that has been largely overlooked for decades.  Our Industry is more consumed with differentiating between property types rather than identifying and promoting more integrated product and program solutions. Key words like “aging in place” have fueled the divide rather than  advanced alternatives responsive to consumer preferences and choice. The groundswell of organizations and consultants that proffer such keywords seem to have been displaced by a more inclusive recognition of active aging – and therein lies the opportunity  - to capture and cultivate another (more integrated) market that is unaffected by the ageism surrounding an oftentimes isolated and limited lifestyle environment.  Lifestyle is not defined by a property type alone. 

Nine Principles of Active Aging

The International Council on Aging is an organization that will likely continue to gain momentum as the national conversation about aging continues to shift away from decline and toward wellness and longevity. They developed the following nine principles as a guiding framework for developing a platform to encourage active, engaged living for people of all ages:
  • Populations: The diverse population of older adults requires diverse solutions. 
  • People: Trained and committed individuals are needed to meet the needs, capabilities, expectations, dreams and desires of older adults.
  • Perceptions: Ageism and negative stereotypes of aging impede an inclusive society.
  • Potential: Population aging is creating new economies.
  • Products: Products and services are needed that tailor to older adult needs and expectations.
  • Promotions: Older adults are a key market to attract.
  • Places: Environments must be constructed to enable multiple functional abilities.
  • Policies: The human rights of older adults should be protected.
  • Programs: The seven dimensions of wellness anchor the principles. 
While these categories are admittedly overlapping, they capture the insight of a blue ocean for learning organizations that can get out in front of the consumer movement. The recommended strategy for senior living providers is to re-brand themselves as community providers catering to the needs and preferences of an active aging market – not the single purpose healthcare provider on the hill – awaiting the need driven and isolated referral. This calls for a re-invented lifestyle / market driven orientation to offering products and services rather than a need driven approach alone.  The landscape is changed and we need to adapt to it.  Healthcare extends to lifestyle and wellness.  The customer can be a far broader reach – and arguably anyone.  It’s time to get off the island and swim for the more diverse and stable shore.    

Opening the Store -  Maximize, Differentiate, & Engage 

There are obvious limitations to the amount of consumer insights gained from the traditional senior provider setting, its residents, family and staff. Development of a storefront in the broader community will empower an extended reach for marketing and research activities. To survive and thrive in the future of aging, it is critical to learn more about the potential customer, their wants, their needs and their individual preferences.
Leveraging the core strengths of the skilled nursing provider seems opportunistic and, as an example, therapy services, among others, seems primary.  A retail store-front with both therapeutic services and wellness programming conceived to penetrate the home and community based market realm is a logical pathway.  The underlying business axiom is to diversify product and program offerings while building a bridge to a broader consumer market.   It’s intelligent, leverages strengths and breeds sustainability.  It’s time to open the store before someone else does!

About Capital Care Associates (CCA)
Capital Care Associates (CCA) offers a broad range of financial advisory, operations improvement and property development services specializing in the Senior Living Industry. Our Clients recognize the change landscape confronting their business and are invested in transforming the way they serve Seniors and their communities. We want to help create a better future for aging by Combining Capital with Care.  To learn more visit: http://capitalcare.co/ 

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Tags: Active Aging, Fitness Storefronts, Senior Fitness, Redfining Senior Living Industry

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