Active, engaged, fulfilled: today’s seniors demand more out of facilities


By Holly Riddle

Valley View Retirement Community

If you’ve yet to seek a senior living solution for a parent or grandparent and your perception of senior living facilities may be of grim, borderline depressing places that no one—least of all the residents--really liked.

Today’s senior living facilities are a far cry from those memories, thanks in part to the growing demands from seniors — Baby Boomers who can recognize that independent living is no longer a fit for their needs, but who also want more to enjoy in their last years of life.

If you read our last article in our senior living series, on how the senior living industry is growing and evolving in Happy Valley, then you already know that the region’s facilities are well-equipped to take on the growing population of seniors. As industry leaders explained to us, though, they’re not just increasing the number of rooms or care options; they’re also evolving how they serve seniors so that residents actually love living there.

A service-rich, choice-driven experience

At State College’s Foxdale Village, Meg Clouser, director of health services, notes that, among Foxdale Village’s 350 residents, as well as incoming residents, her team now sees seniors who want to retain control their lifestyle after moving into a facility, and also those who want to be catered to on a more extensive level, which is a somewhat new shift.

Her colleague Lisa Harrington, director of residency planning and marketing, further explains, describing what seniors want as a combination of a service-rich and choice-driven experience.

“They want to control their environment. That’s what they’ve done their whole lives. Why should it change?” Harrington said. “More choice options in their living accommodations, their activities, their food — it’s a really big thing.”

She continued, “They're also more active. They want access to wellness programs, so gyms, classes and pools, and they want it where they are. They don't want to have to go elsewhere. It’s the same thing with dining… They drive initiatives themselves, too, as much as they want to be served. We have between 60 and 70 special interest groups — clubs, committees, et cetera — and [the residents] run it. They wanted a model railroad room, so they found space and built it. I’ve been asked recently about HAM radio operating, and I say, ‘No, we don’t have it, but when you get here, you can start it.’”

Residents enjoying various activities

Kristin Hambleton, vice president of sales and marketing for Presbyterian Senior Living, which oversees multiple properties in the region, including Westminster Place in Huntingdon and Windy Hill Village in Philipsburg, likewise said that she sees residents looking for more social and special interest opportunities, as well as seniors taking a greater interest in wellness.

She said, “They’re really looking for something that allows them to be engaged, and social opportunities. Wellness is a big thing, and more than just physical wellness — mental wellness and spiritual wellness. They want…[a] holistic lifestyle.”

Nurturing the spirit of life

At the end of the day, though, it’s not the individual wellness opportunities or the clubs that impact the decision for seniors shopping around for a new place to call home. Instead, it’s that all-encompassing idea of what a new home could look like.

“Seniors and their families want to feel like they are in a home-like setting, rather than a medical or clinical facility,” said Kammi Booher, director of admissions at Valley View Retirement Community. “Even though Valley View provides excellent clinical services, we pride ourselves on our home-like environment. Our residents are our family...”

Similarly, Jennifer Getgen, executive director at Juniper Village Senior Living at Brookline, said, “Our seniors and families are looking at … the atmosphere, culture, technology and the activities/amenities available. They want to see themselves ‘living’ in the community, so when they visit, they must see life and action.”

As such, she said the Juniper brand actively seeks partnerships within the region, to extend its community beyond its physical footprint, enhance senior services and better accommodate resident needs.

Getgen added, “We personalize each senior experience to enrich their quality of life. Here at Juniper, we nurture the spirit of life. Our mission is to foster active bodies, engaged minds and fulfilled spirits.”

We’re covering senior living in Happy Valley all January. Stay tuned for more insights on the costs of senior care and the process of choosing the best senior living facility in Happy Valley.


Share on activity feed

Powered by WP LinkPress


  1. Wow, does this article hit close to home. My family is going through this with my parents (near Hershey). Everything mentioned in this article is what I'm finding in the independent living and CCRC facilities in their area. These aren't the nursing homes from our grandparents' generation!!

Happy Valley Industry is the voice for innovation, research and industry in the Happy Valley region of Central Pennsylvania.

Powered by Affinity Connection

© Copyright 2024 - All Rights Reserved
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram