The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of senior housing, skilled nursing, home health and hospice care. To see this year’s future leaders, visit Future Leaders online.
Summer Menegakis, vice president of marketing and communications at Compass Community Living, has been named a 2023 Future Leader by Senior Housing News.
To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for seniors and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
Menegakis sat down with Senior Housing News to discuss what drew her to the industry and the ways she would like to see it grow and adapt, along with advice she has for other future leaders emerging within the industry.
What drew you to this industry?
Having transitioned from a healthcare background to senior living, my career path has been driven by a passion for pushing boundaries and introducing fresh perspectives. I was drawn to this industry by the prospect of infusing innovation into an environment that has a profound impact on the lives of seniors and their families.
This award reaffirms my commitment to driving innovation in senior living. It fuels my determination to continue introducing groundbreaking ideas, technologies, and experiences that enhance the quality of life for our residents.
What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in this industry?
One of the most profound lessons I’ve gained from working in the senior living industry is the dynamic nature of its landscape. As the needs and expectations of seniors and their families evolve, so must our approach to care. This industry has taught me the importance of adaptability and staying attuned to the changing preferences and requirements of our residents.
Moreover, I’ve come to understand the incredible opportunity we have to help shape the care model for seniors. It’s not just about providing a place to reside; it’s about creating an environment that promotes well-being, independence, and a sense of community. By actively engaging with residents, their families, and industry advancements, we can refine and innovate our care practices. Embracing change and consistently seeking ways to enhance the senior living experience has become a core principle in my approach. This lesson has not only deepened my appreciation for the impact we can make on senior’s lives but has also fueled my commitment to driving positive transformation in the industry.
If you could change one thing with an eye toward the future of senior housing, what would it be?
My passion lies in enriching resident’s experiences and well-being. With that perspective, if I could drive change for the future of senior housing, it would be to create a more holistic and personalized approach to care that focuses on resident’s unique interests, preferences, and aspirations. I envision a future where senior living communities are designed as vibrant ecosystems that cater not only to physical health but also emotional, intellectual, and social well-being. This would involve tailoring activities, services, and amenities to the individual passions and backgrounds of residents.
By leveraging technology and data analytics, we could gain insights into resident’s preferences, hobbies, and histories. This information could then shape personalized experiences, from curated enrichment programs to social events that align with their interests. This approach would foster a sense of purpose, ignite curiosity, and promote a more engaged and fulfilling lifestyle for every resident.
Ultimately, my aim is to create senior living environments that prioritize each resident’s unique identity and offer a truly individualized experience. This change aligns with the evolving expectations of the modern generation of seniors and resonates with my commitment to enhancing the lives of those we serve.
What do you foresee as being different about the senior housing industry looking ahead to 2023?
Looking ahead, I anticipate several significant shifts and trends in the senior housing industry:
Technology Integration: Senior housing will increasingly embrace technology to enhance resident’s quality of life and improve operational efficiency. From smart home devices and health monitoring tools to virtual engagement platforms, technology will play a pivotal role in delivering personalized care and facilitating connections.
Personalization and Choice: The industry will continue to move towards more personalized care models that cater to individual preferences and needs. Seniors will have greater say in customizing their living experiences, from dining options to activity schedules, fostering a sense of autonomy and empowerment.
Wellness and Active Aging: Senior living communities will place a stronger emphasis on wellness programs and activities that promote active aging. Fitness centers, wellness classes, and outdoor spaces will be designed to support senior’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Social Engagement and Community: There will be a greater focus on building strong, interconnected communities within senior housing. Creating spaces and opportunities for socializing, hobbies, and shared experiences will be a priority to combat loneliness and enhance resident’s overall happiness.
Culinary Experiences: Senior living communities will offer diverse and gourmet dining options that cater to various dietary needs and preferences. Culinary experiences will be designed to encourage social interaction and elevate resident’s overall enjoyment.
Flexible Care Models: The industry will offer more flexible care models, allowing seniors to transition seamlessly between independent living, assisted living, and memory care as their needs change. This fluid approach will provide a more comprehensive solution for seniors.
Sustainability and Environment: Senior housing communities will increasingly prioritize eco-friendly practices, including energy-efficient design, sustainable materials, and green spaces. Sustainability aligns with the values of both residents and the broader community.
Remote and Hybrid Services: The lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to influence the industry. Remote healthcare services, telehealth consultations, and hybrid engagement models will become more common to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.
In summary, the senior housing industry will likely emphasize technology, personalization, wellness, community, culinary experiences, flexible care, sustainability, and adaptability. These trends reflect a holistic approach to senior living that seeks to enhance every aspect of residents’ lives.
In a word, how would you describe the future of senior housing?