What is your perception of the senior living communities in your city or town? Do they seem dis-connected from, or vital to, the fabric of the community? Are they someplace you think you would like to live some day, or a place you may have to live some day? What if there was a completely new senior living paradigm? For example, what if elders in a senior living community were looked on as a valuable resource in the broader community – a resource that young people would turn to for advice, and town leaders would look to for council on community challenges?
That is really the fundamental shift in mindset necessary for what I have called Purpose-Driven Senior Living. Consider the image (and reality) of senior living if it’s PRIMARY purpose was to actively support elders as agents of positive change in the broader community. For example, elders in a purpose-driven senior living community could decide to spearhead an initiative to combat childhood obesity, and might grow organic vegetables for school lunches, create walking trails on the senior living grounds, be walking buddies for school children, and anything else they determine would address the issue. They could work with town leaders to activate businesses and other entities to join the initiative. Elders as resources – elders as partners in community.
I’ve been working on developing the foundation, structures, strategies, and resources necessary to begin this transformation and am excited to have many of the right people and “pieces” coming together to make it happen. The first thing is a name change from purpose-driven (which is already associated with a different movement) to purpose-centered senior living. We’ll try that on for awhile and would be happy to hear what you think of the concept and the name. I’ll keep you posted as we continue to build out the framework and tools necessary to integrate a purpose-centered approach through all aspects of a senior living business model.