How Technology Will Soon Change Urban Senior Living Design

Developing and rehabbing urban senior living continues to be a hot trend for owners, operators and developers. In order to make these communities more attractive to potential consumers, providers are leveraging technology—and they’re realizing that all of this technology may someday change the way urban senior housing communities are designed, affecting everything from parking to security features and even dining spaces.

Last week at the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit in Berkeley, California, panelists and operators from two Bay Area communities shared their experiences with the attendees about how technology is becoming woven in to the fabric of community design in these densely populated areas.

Operators from two local communities in the San Francisco and Oakland area, Rhoda Goldman Plaza and Belmont Village-Albany, respectively, shared some of the challenges with technology usage by the residents in their communities. Today’s residents are using more technology than residents in the past, they said. Many are coming into the communities with such a level of familiarity and expertise, it suggests that technology adoption is continuing to increase among older adults, even though the applications may still not be designed specifically for them with features such as larger buttons and fonts.

Despite privacy concerns with voice-enabled technology, the operators found that physical security and access control is equally, if not more, important than electronic security and privacy.

“Because we’re urban, security is really important to us,” said Michelle Moros, executive director of Belmont Village-Albany. “We have the outside of our community under video surveillance 24/7. Being a large community, we need to control who is going in and out. As well as when the residents are in the community and out. Locks to the individual resident doors … some providers are moving away from a key to a pass or card so we can control or see who has been in and out of the apartment for variety of reasons.”

Houston-based owner and operator Belmont Village Senior Living has about 25 communities.

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