6 inspiring ways senior living communities have evolved over the years

By Tawnya Rohde, Director of Sales and Marketing- Independent Living

As recently as the 1970s, people age 70+ were considered “elderly.” When they moved from their family homes, the next step was an “old folks home.” While those terms weren’t intended to be negative, the overall impression focused on the expected decline in health and mobility.

Fast forward to 2018, and there’s a whole new attitude. Instead of the “elderly,” we speak of “seniors.” And the idea of “old” has changed drastically. As the saying goes, “70 is the new 60.”

It’s more than just a change in attitude. It’s a change in lifestyle—one that’s reflected in modern senior living communities.

Dallas Retirement Community in Dallas, Oregon, is a perfect example of changing trends in senior living. We were founded in 1947 as the “Dallas Home for the Aged.” For the next 40 years, the community-focused solely on care and was called “Dallas Rest Home” and “Dallas Nursing Home.” Then in 1985, we opened an independent living apartment complex—paving the way for the name change to Dallas Retirement Village.

Similarly, senior living communities around the country have evolved to meet the wants and needs of today’s seniors. You’ll notice the resident-focused trend in these six categories:

  1. A shift toward the positive.

While the older model focused on care and expected declines in the future, the current senior living model focuses on the here and now—staying active, being well, getting involved and enjoying life.

  1. Maintaining and building connections with surrounding neighborhoods.

More and more, retirement living communities are fostering connections with the local community—such as offering exercise classes, art classes or dining opportunities to people in the area. For example, our Timber Grille will soon offer catering services available to the Dallas area.

  1. Creating a vibrant atmosphere through updated designs.

In the past, retirement homes sought to look like “grandma’s house” with familiar décor that sometimes had an outdated look. Today’s senior living communities feature uplifting natural design and plenty of natural light. Dallas Retirement Village’s new Lodge Clubhouse has a Northwest-inspired design, featuring natural wood, a stone fireplace, and soaring windows.

  1. Multiple independent living options.

Gone are the standardized communities of yesteryear, where residents had few choices in residence styles or financial plans. Today’s seniors want options. Dallas Retirement offers a choice of Village Apartments, the new Lodge Residences or Garden Homes.

  1. A fresh new approach to dining.

In the past, menus leaned toward dietary restrictions such as low cholesterol, low-fat or diabetic options. Today, the emphasis is on fresh food done well. At Dallas Retirement Village, Chef Shawn Stoyer takes the farm-to-table approach—featuring ingredients from the Willamette Valley. Overall, the idea is to use less processed products from big food suppliers, and instead focus on creating delicious, nutritious meals residents love.

  1. A resident-centered approach to care.

Today, there’s a new understanding of the patient experience—and the impact of environment and attitude on patient outcome. At Dallas Retirement Village, this includes open dining for residents in all levels of care—Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing. Residents have the freedom to dine on their own schedules, just as they would in their own homes.

To learn more about the innovative approaches available at Dallas Retirement Village, or to request a reservation for a complimentary farm-to-table lunch and tour, call 503-623-9211.

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