By Steve Moran

At Senior Living 100, Colin Milner, the founder of The International Council on Active Aging, offered 10 reasons why senior living organizations need to put more emphasis on wellness. Here are the seven I think are most important. Ultimately, the big idea is that when we are focused on wellness, it means that people “live better longer.”

Take a look:

  1. The market expects it. It used to be that people expected that once they hit age 65, life was kind of over. You died or you waited to die. No more! People are realizing that they have decades of living that are powerful, purposeful, and fun.
  2. It fulfills the organization’s mission. I guess I would characterize it a bit differently, in that while I wish this were always true, it is not. It is true that most senior living organizations say they are focused on wellness, but saying and doing are not the same thing.
  3. Wellness makes you more competitive in the marketplace. Honestly, the old model of senior living was a place to stay safe until you die. It is not a particularly compelling message. A focus on wellness means a focus on living life well.
  4. It will increase occupancy. This happens in several ways. The first is that lengths of stay will increase. This means fewer units to fill. The second is that people will tell their friends. The third takes us back to point three: You will be more competitive, more appealing in the marketplace.
  5. It enhances resident engagement and satisfaction. Happier residents are residents who are more self-reliant and who demand less, complain less, and are more likely to invite their friends to come live in your community. Resident satisfaction is something you can brag about in the marketplace. This means lower operating costs and demands on staff — something that has never been more important.
  6. It improves employee wellness. This seems obvious, but I am not sure it gets the emphasis it should. When there is a focus on wellness, it impacts everyone in the community. It impacts workload, and it impacts how people feel about what they do each day.
  7. It can generate additional revenue. The traditional way of thinking says there are only two ways to increase revenue. The first is to increase occupancy, and the second is to increase rent. More and more operators are realizing there are other ways to increase revenue, and the results can be impressive. Residents and their families will pay extra for wellness services.

If you have a great wellness story, we would love to hear from you and amplify your story. What else are you doing? What is working for you?