Senior Living’s Future Is All About Customization of Experience
“Our proprietary “Experiential Living” model is driving continuing efforts to deliver a new, choice-driven lifestyle experience that’s more thoughtful, personalized, and a pioneering innovation for the seniors housing industry.
Fueled by technology and changing consumer preferences, Discovery Senior Living has been hard at work to develop and launch exclusive programs—and soon, entire new-construction communities—that allow more freedom, increased optionality and deeper lifestyle customization. The total concept is called “Experiential Living,” and by any measure, its arrival represents a landmark innovation for the senior housing space.
Aimed predominantly at retiring Baby Boomers, a generation that values experiences far more than generations past, Experiential Living is rooted in flexibility, choice and the availability (and appeal) of multiple options for things like dining, entertainment, recreation, relaxation, and care and service.
Before learning a little more about the inner workings of Experiential Living, let’s begin by answering the obvious question, “What is Experiential Living, anyway?”
In Our Own Words: What Is Experiential Living?
“Experiential Living really means creating customization, choice and optionality with an intense customer service focus in all aspects of the products and services we provide.
You see, for a very long time, the senior housing industry was focused on providing essential, but one-size-fits-all services. And the problem with that is that every senior is an individual with unique likes, dislikes and desires for how they want to live.
That’s why we set out to design and develop a more experience-focused lifestyle that would highlight the individuality of today’s customers.
Experiential Living itself isn’t a product or service; but a way of life whose influence is readily seen in the programs and offerings we currently provide our residents, and the new ones that we’ll launch in the future as well.
So as you’re reading or interacting further with our company, take notice of how often you come across words like ‘optionality,’ ‘choice,’ ‘flexibility,’ ‘personalization,’ and the like. Those words are very intentional, and are all rooted in our desire to provide customized experiences each and every day, consistent with the Experiential Living philosophy.”
How—and Why—Experiential Living Was Born
The biggest driving force behind Experiential Living is actually delightfully simple and clearly stated. It’s about changing demographics and consumer preferences, specifically how best to accommodate the unique needs and demands of the Baby Boomer generation, whose ongoing transition into retirement is likely the most important demographic shift that will happen in this lifetime.
In response to shifting demographics, future-minded innovations are happening across other industries as well. Like retail, for example, where smaller-format grocery and department stores are being developed according to the distinct consumer patterns of incoming seniors.
Additionally, new tech devices and mobile apps are in the works that help empower wellness, monitor safety and impart convenience for seniors. And retail and even healthcare providers are examining the use of self-driving cars to transport seniors to and from appointments and the like.
Each of these innovations is part of large-scale industry efforts to provide experiences specifically for the next generation of seniors. Experiential Living, as the first such innovation to emerge in the senior living space, is how Discovery Senior Living is working to do the same.
More Value for Less: Experiential Living Comes to Life
In and around the community setting, the integration of the Experiential Living concept is distinctly visible—and in some spots, even tangible. It’s in the modern design and construction, the luxurious features and finishes, and particularly the plentiful amenities that are available both inside and out.
That combination—beauty and grandeur, freedom and convenience, and fun and relaxation—all in one place is Experiential Living coming to life. And it’s also the feeling of waking up each day to virtually unlimited possibilities for enjoyment and exploration, and having the power to choose to experience as much (or as little) as desired, in the moment, and all day long.
Indeed, through the power of Experiential Living, seniors now have more tools than ever before for living their own, richly rewarding lifestyle, and doing so on their own terms. Here are some of the important Experiential Living components and how they’re used to impart the optionality, choice, and value that are among the hallmarks of the overall concept.
Unprecedented Dining Flexibility
Experiential Living has given senior dining a whole, new recipe, with superior food quality, more menu diversity and attentive table service for a dining experience that’s reminiscent of favorite, area restaurants right at home.
For essentially the first time ever, it’s becoming possible to dine on one’s own terms in the senior living community setting, with everyday menu options and ever-changing specials, the combination of which can satisfy most any mood or craving with a fantastic variety of readily available meal choices. Perhaps the biggest innovation in senior dining, however, is the move away from fixed dining hours in favor of more convenient, anytime dining.
That’s right; not only is it possible to eat what you want, but when you want as well. This too imparts a level of newfound flexibility, allowing residents to sleep in, for example, and opt for a late breakfast or brunch. They can also return from the day’s outings, appointments or excursions at their own discretion, and will not run the risk of finding the dining room closed and being left to fend for themselves at meal time. It’s just one more way senior dining is adapting to residents, rather than forcing resident seniors to plan their days in accordance with rigid meal times.
Flexible Spending Options for Independent Living
In the name of flexibility and a more resident-driven lifestyle, “all inclusive” pricing and pre-packaged items like meal plans are disappearing in favor of a la carte items and experiences (dining, recreation, fitness, spa/personal care services, etc.) that allow resident seniors to choose as much (or as little) as they want, and only pay for the products and services they use each month.
Discovery Senior Living’s proprietary program is called FlexChoice℠, which eliminates the decades-old sameness of “bundled” programming, instead empowering residents to design their lifestyle around the experiences that are most valuable to them.
The program enables residents to use FlexChoice℠ dollars for a multitude of services at the community all month long. Additional and/or private dining experiences, cleaning and household projects, private transportation, personal training and salon and spa services are just some of the eligible ways to spend FlexChoice℠ dollars each month.
The reasoning behind the program is simple: It’s your money, and you should get to decide how it’s spent to bring the most enjoyment each and every month. Launched at select communities in 2021, FlexChoice℠ is steadily rolling out to new independent living communities, and is just another way Discovery Senior Living is doing what others aren’t, and helping transform daily life in the community setting as a result.
Senior living community amenities have gotten some serious upgrades, and today bring a certain “Wow factor” for all who see them. Experiences like movie theaters, tiki bars, outdoor putting greens, scenic walking paths, and even private fishing piers help create exciting and new recreation options.
But the upgraded amenities aren’t just for resident seniors. Our on-site dog parks, where available, offer obstacles, green space and lots of off-leash fun for four-legged residents as well.
The modern clubhouse now functions more like a recreational and social hub for the community, where dining, amenities, and multiple entertainment options are continuously offered throughout the day and evening. A selection of favorites might include cornhole, Wii bowling, movies and TV watch parties, live comedy and musical performances, and informative lectures on wide-ranging topics (history, politics, culture, sports, business etc.). And that’s just what’s happening inside the community.
Outside, frequent day trips and excursions to popular local destinations—beaches, shopping, museums, arts and theater, sports, and more—provide regular opportunities for fun and new adventures. And so do our monthly “Mystery Rides,” planned getaways to a new, top-secret location each month.
Exclusive Lifestyle Programming
Whether it’s providing valuable cost savings, added convenience or simply taking uncommon steps to deliver a superior lifestyle experience, Discovery Senior Living is a foremost innovator, with resident-focused programs and services (and more coming soon) that are changing the way seniors and families look at senior living.
Here are some of the exclusive programs and unique offerings that can only be found right here:
FitCamp® is an exclusive, best-in class fitness solution developed by Discovery Senior Living to provide a health-club-quality experience that’s customized to fit the unique fitness profile and goals of each, individual senior.
The program enables residents to receive individualized workout plans and one-on-one coaching and support from FitCamp® personal trainers. In addition, the latest, cutting-edge fitness equipment outputs real-time performance data used by trainers to monitor progress, refine workouts and achieve important fitness goals.
FitCamp® health and fitness centers are now launching in Discovery Senior Living communities nationwide, where residents are already reporting meaningful milestones, including improved flexibility and balance as well as building strength and cardio endurance.
SHINE® Memory Care
Much like FitCamp®, SHINE® Memory Care was developed by Discovery Senior Living and built upon a foundation of science and deeper personalization. Using six (6) distinctive points of focus, SHINE® ensures a holistic approach to memory care; one that’s specially designed to fit the unique needs and abilities of seniors living with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other memory-related conditions.
In 2020, following a comprehensive review, the SHINE® Memory Care program curriculum received a National Certificate of Recognition from the Alzheimer’s Association®. It’s a rare distinction we share with a very small and elite group of US memory care providers.
Rent Lock Protection
With the security and transparency of rent lock protection, there are no surprise rent hikes or hidden fees, and no buy-ins or long-term commitments. Great for creating financial stability and offering critical peace of mind to residents and the families, rent lock programs at Aston Gardens, Conservatory, Discovery Village, and Morada Senior Living communities are guaranteed for three, full years. And at Rittenhouse Village and other, participating Discovery communities, rents are locked in for life!
Be Our Guest
Particularly with major decisions like the move to senior living, it’s hard to overstate the value of a free trial. So to help empower more informed decisions, Discovery Senior Living has developed the Be Our Guest program, an amazing, new way to experience life at a participating active independent living community. With accommodations, dining and amenities all open to enjoy free of charge, there’s no better way to “Test the waters” for a couple days and make a more confident decision in the future.
Indeed, this is a remarkable and historic time for seniors, whose influence over US society, culture, and industry has never been greater. In many ways, the nation is beginning a new chapter where seniors are the lead characters, experiences matter more than ever, and personalization will become key to the success of most any industry.
Coming Soon: Experiential Living Communities
Indeed, this is a remarkable and historic time for seniors, whose influence over US society, culture, and industry has never been greater. In many ways, the nation is beginning a new chapter where seniors are the lead characters, experiences matter more than ever, and personalization will become key to the success of most any company or industry.
Discovery Senior Living is leading the way in our industry, and driven by the Experiential Living philosophy, we’ve been designing and will soon unveil an entirely new brand concept. These much-anticipated communities will first debut in select Florida markets, including Gainesville and Daytona Beach, and will allow residents to be immersed in active retirement settings that provide unlimited freedom and independence, plus exciting and diverse options for dining, entertainment, socializing with like-minded seniors, and much more.
Modern and stylish, and with next-generation amenities including rooftop pools and cocktail lounges, fabulous, pet-friendly green spaces, and unique dining opportunities, these communities are years in the making and represent the first-ever embodiment of the Experiential Living vision in the new construction arena.
This, however, is only the beginning. Look for more news and exciting announcements in the coming months, and get ready for a window to the future of retirement living to open up on an even larger scale.
Amazing, new experiences are coming soon to the seniors housing space, and with Discovery Senior Living at the forefront, a remarkable, forward-thinking transformation is happening today. So if you still believe that all senior living communities are created equal, or haven’t yet seen for yourself where we’re headed, there’s never been a better time than right now to take another look!
“In an experience-centric concept, the health care component—once the singular focus in our industry—remains just as important. Within the Experiential Living model, it will now just blend into the fabric of the community, rather than entirely making up that fabric.”
– Richard J. Hutchinson, CEO, Discovery Senior Living