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How On-Demand Services Can Benefit Seniors in Senior Living Communities and CCRCs

Published on September 6, 2023 by Sharon Morrisette

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By 2040, it is predicted that older adults (those aged 65+ years) will make up 22% of the US population – 4x higher than the numbers seen at the turn of the 20th century. 

With each year that passes, the senior population is growing and diversifying, and senior living communities must be ready to accommodate the differing needs of this rapidly expanding and divergent target market.

One area that is showing real potential for senior living businesses’ growth – while also providing significant benefits for their senior residents – is the provision of on-demand or à la carte services. 

While on-demand products and services have been around in one form or another for a while now – think Uber/Lyft, Doordash/GrubHub, and AirBnB – they were primarily designed for the younger generations.

However, adapting these services and improving them for use by seniors is an innovative idea that holds real promise for those aging at home or in a senior living community. It is a highly efficient and cost-effective way for Senior Living Communities (SLCs) and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) to deliver their own tailored services and critical support to residents that will significantly enhance health and wellness outcomes – and boost their bottom line.

À la carte services for seniors

Many senior living communities and CCRCs are already beginning to offer their residents an à la carte menu of additional services that they can access from the comfort of their living rooms.

These include a wide range of flexible service options from which seniors can choose what they want, as well as when they want it. For example:

  • Transportation (to attend medical appointments or social events, to go shopping and run errands, etc.).
  • Home deliveries (including groceries, library books, pre-prepared meals, and prescriptions).
  • ADL and IADL support (including housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, gardening, medication management, personal hygiene, and managing money).
  • Flexible healthcare visits (at-home visits from doctors, nursing services, occupational therapists, optometrists, podiatrists, etc.).  

By running these home- and community-based services themselves, rather than outsourcing to third-party vendors, SLCs and CCRCs can deliver numerous benefits to their senior residents – while diversifying their revenue stream to boost profits.

The top eight benefits of insourcing à la carte services for your senior residents 

1. Greater safety and security

By bringing on-demand services like transportation and personal care in-house, you can be sure that all staff members interacting with your senior residents are properly screened, compliant, trained, and experienced in dealing specifically with older adults. This brings a higher level of safety and security for your senior residents.

Additionally, you can guarantee a consistent team of service providers who will get to know your residents very well over time. They will be able to observe and address any safety hazards in the home during regular visits, as well as notice and communicate any changes in seniors’ health or behavior that may need further investigation to avoid escalation.

2. Affordability of on-demand services 

Outsourcing on-demand services would mean your residents having to pay separately for any additional home and personal care services they require, like shopping, transportation, cooking, housekeeping, and so on – at an increasingly higher price. 

By bringing these services in-house, you can offer your residents far more affordable options, including attractive packages they can upgrade over time. Cost savings will be particularly desirable for residents who need more than four hours of support daily for ADLs, etc.

3. Increased engagement and satisfaction

matching clients and caregivers

While not all additional services will be delivered by a caregiver, those that are – including support in the home with ADLs and IADLs – can be notably enhanced by well-matched caregiver-resident relationships

Matching residents with the most suitable caregiver(s) requires skill (or the right software!). It is essential to building long-lasting solid bonds – known to play a vital role in senior engagement and satisfaction.

SLCs and CCRCs offering à la carte home care services using their own caregiver staff are in a far stronger position to make the best matches and take their resident and family satisfaction to the next level. You and your team will always know your residents far better than any third-party service provider ever could!

4. Increased social engagement; reduced isolation

According to a report from the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Healthy Aging, one in three seniors – especially those with health issues – feels isolated and lonely. This is a concerning statistic, given that the report goes on to say: “Research shows that chronic loneliness can impact older adults’ memory, physical wellbeing, mental health, and life expectancy.”

Having a list of additional services that your senior residents can access as and when they need them – including companionship care and transportation to social activities/events – can play a crucial role in providing a consistent source of social interaction, enjoyable company, and stimulating conversation. These all increase social engagement, support physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and help prevent loneliness in your seniors. 

5. Improved quality of care and continuity of care

When SLCs and CCRCs bring on-demand services to their senior residents from within their organization, they can guarantee the consistency and quality of services being delivered. These, along with continuity of care, are far less likely when outsourcing services to third parties. 

Similar to the PACE program, using an internal team ensures that seniors are more likely to interact with the same staff members regularly and that this team will share information and collaborate daily. This offers a more robust and coordinated approach to effectively care for the whole person. 

For example, the transportation person might notice, over time, that a senior has less mobility getting in and out of the vehicle. They can make a note of this in a centralized system that all other team members will see – and can keep an eye on. If this service was outsourced, it’s unlikely that the senior would have the same driver each time or that the driver would pass on anything of note to the SLC staff.

Similarly, if a senior is already receiving assistance with ADLs from a caregiver within your organization and requires additional services at any time, the same caregiver can be assigned – providing continuity of care that would be less likely from a third-party source.

All these factors help to improve the quality and consistency of care your seniors receive and boost residents’ and family satisfaction.

6. Better care outcomes; reduced re-hospitalizations

Nurse talking with grandmother and her grandson indoors

As mentioned above, delivering your own à la carte services to senior residents gives you more control over staffing, care coordination, communications, scheduling, costs, and more. This guarantees a higher quality of care, resulting in better care outcomes for all residents – including reduced re-hospitalizations and emergency callouts.

Whether seniors need short-term additional services following a brief illness, like assistance with ADLs and home healthcare check-ups, or longer-term support for issues like declining mobility or developing dementia – SLCs and CCRCs can significantly improve care outcomes by offering their own on-demand services.

7. Better quality of life

Having a menu of insourced, on-demand services available gives SLCs and CCRCs greater control over care coordination and staffing – and allows them to extend the services their residents currently receive to cover flexible day and night shifts, as needed.

You can ensure staff is available 24/7 to assist your residents with personal care needs and ADLs by providing more flexible, on-demand services – and guaranteeing they always have access to the care they need when they need it.

All of this adds up to a better quality of life for each senior resident, promoting wellness, keeping them actively engaged in their community, and enabling them to live independently for much longer.

In a recent study looking at on-demand transportation services alone, 92% of seniors reported that access to unlimited rides significantly improved the quality of their daily lives.

8. Extended time living independently in their community 

Most residents who join your community will be looking to build a new life there and expect to live independently in their new home for the foreseeable future.

However, they will inevitably begin to experience age-related health issues over time and require extra support services if they are to continue safely aging in place, including help with physical tasks at home like maintenance, meal prep, housework, and laundry.

SLCs and CCRCs with a list of à la carte services that their senior residents can access, as and when needed, will significantly extend the length of time their residents can remain living independently (and safely) within their community. Having differing levels of care and support available to help maintain health and well-being will delay the need for seniors to move into a higher-level care facility. 

This is especially true if you can offer specialist care in areas that require extra support, such as Alzheimer’s, mobility impairment, or cognitive disabilities.

In addition to the benefits that senior residents can enjoy from being offered à la carte services from within their community, there is the added bonus that their families have greater peace of mind knowing that their loved one is receiving higher quality and continuity of care – along with increased social engagement and safety.

Overcoming the challenges for SLCs and CCRCs with technology

Identifying all client touch points with your home care agency - Smartcare Software

Implemented well, adding on-demand services to your existing offerings can provide a significant competitive advantage and enhanced revenue channel for your senior living business. 

However, as with implementing any new, innovative strategy, you will typically meet some challenges you’ll need to overcome. For example, attracting and hiring the right staff to meet the demand for new services, coordinating services between existing skilled and unskilled staff, and integrating scheduling and financial operations – can all prove quite a headache without the right technology tools.           

If you want to set up à la carte services as part of your senior living business model, finding the right technology is essential to help you overcome these obstacles and start making a considerable difference to your residents’ quality of life. 

The right software will seamlessly integrate your current services with any additional à la carte service lines, and help to streamline, optimize, and expand your business effectively… without the headache!

How using Smartcare Software can help

The right software partner is crucial as you look to add à la carte services (or improve the running of your existing services) to expand your business and benefit your senior residents.

Smartcare’s cloud-based software provides everything you need to streamline every aspect of your operation and seamlessly integrate new revenue streams. 

The complete software platform and EMR include tools for hiring and retaining new staff, flexible scheduling, care service coordination, reporting, secure communication, resident and family engagementautomated billing and payroll, compliance, and much more – to help you successfully manage an extended range of à la carte service options.

Let Smartcare do the heavy lifting for you so you can focus all your efforts on what you do best – providing high-quality care and services for your senior residents to secure a long and happy future in your community.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of using Smartcare Software in your senior living community, please give us a call or request your free demo.