The Nicoya Institute

Looking Ahead: The Well-Being Trends That We Hope to See in 2017

Every year about this time the internet is lit up with research and opinions on well-being trends that were observed in the previous year, and those that are projected to make their mark on the coming year. We observe these trends within senior living as well, some we like and others not as much. But, rather than take a look back and reflect on what trends 2016 produced, I'd like to look forward at three well-being trends that we hope to see (and are striving for) within senior living in 2017.

Functional Fitness over General Fitness

For the past several years there's been a pretty notable emphasis on what's been called "functional fitness," which, generally speaking, places a higher priority on training for movement rather than training for the mirror. The practice of training for movement and for function, if I may, is more important for seniors than for any other population. So, rather than gathering a group of individuals together merely for the purpose of general exercise activity, we hope to see a greater emphasis placed on specific, intentional exercise that trains those in senior living communities to #Thrive functionally.

Community Well-Being over Individual Well-Being

While it is certainly true that we want to help effect positive change in the life of the individual, one of our hopes is that we might help lift our eyes up beyond ourselves to the community of people where we dwell. One of the basic desires built into the human DNA is that we all long to be a part of something greater than ourselves, and that plays right into our pursuit of well-being: we hope to help make it a collective effort. Healthy communities help influence individuals, and we hope to see this community approach take root across the entire industry.

Well-Being Cultures over Well-Being Programs

Programs are great. They often produce results. They sometimes effect change. But, speaking long-term, they're largely ineffective because they have an end-date. A 12 week weight-loss program or a 6 week stepping challenge, sure they can and should be implemented. But program implementation shouldn't supplant "culture building." After all, programs come and go, but cultures endure long past the end-date of your latest weight-loss program. Our hope is that we'll see a great effort towards embedding well-being deep into the fabric of senior living communities all across the nation.

These are not just trends that we're, with fingers cross, sitting idly by hoping to see in the coming year. We are, and have been for all of 2016, working hard on making these the principles that sink deep into the DNA of each community that we work with because we believe that they'll inevitably enhance the quality of life of the entire community.

What trends have you observed this year, and what do you hope to see in your communities in the coming year from a well-being perspective?