What if we designed a program of services in senior living communities where our pitch was: “Move into our community, join our wellness program . . . feel 10 years younger within a year!”

By Steve Moran

People move into senior living when they are on the downhill slide of life (except maybe Life Plan Communities/CCRCs). Communities are sold as a place to keep seniors safe, secure, and happy throughout their long or short downhill slide.

Maybe This is All Wrong

Well, not all wrong because, in truth, that is a big part of what our sector does and it is a good thing, but . . .

What if senior living were actually a place to rejuvenate youth?

Recently, I read an article in the UK Guardian titled: ‘More than just luck’: the science behind Tom Brady’s preposterous longevity. His current age is 39.

From The Article

“Tom Brady seems to achieve whatever he wills. And what he wants, according to team owner Robert Kraft, is to play another seven years.”

“. . . Brady seems to have a legitimate chance to play as long as he wishes.”

“So how has Brady, in a league where hits are likened to car crashes, stayed healthy?”

The article goes on to talk about how Brady works incredibly hard on having a lifestyle that allows him to keep playing like a much younger person. He also does lot of work on making sure that when he is injured he does not develop limiting compensating habits.

Senior Living As the Fountain of Youth

Senior living suffers from a sort of confirmation bias problem. We all know that senior living is a place that people go to run out of life. The industry knows it, the public knows it and we remember every story that confirms this truth.  

Even when there are positive stories about seniors that — while living in senior living communities — doing amazing things, there is this never spoken but often believed thought . . . Wow, he is almost dead or she should be dead and did this amazing thing.

What if we designed a program of services in senior living communities where our pitch was this. “Feel 80? Move into our community and get involved it our wellness lifestyle program and in 6 months you could very well feel 75; in a year, 70!” No guarantees, of course, because things happen.

65-Years-Old and Begging to Get In!

There is good evidence that a lot of the effects of aging can be reduced or stalled with adjustments to lifestyle and diet. I have this vision of there being senior living communities where 65- and 70-year-olds are standing in line to get in because they know they have a great chance of feeling 10 or 15 years younger.

Hitting Home For Me . . .

Yesterday, my father, age 88, and I went for a hike to Codfish Falls on a seasonal creek that flows into the American River. It is normally a pretty easy hike but because of all the rain we have had this winter there are some rough patches of terrain. Not tough for me or my dog, but it was tough for my dad who has become unsteady on his feet. Coming back, there was one patch of about 15 or 20 feet where he elected to sit and butt slide down.

There was never a time where it felt . . . at least to me . . . scary or that he was in real danger, but it was admittedly tough for him. When we were back in the car he said, “I think that will be the last time I do that trail.” On the way home I suggested he might look for a fall prevention program that would give him more options.

I find myself thinking that if there were a senior living community that gave him a realistic hope of rolling back the balance challenge he might move in tomorrow.

This is perhaps our greatest opportunity.

PS:  Yes, I see some communities that are moving in this direction. If you are one of them, I would love to tell your story.