For viewers of the multi-award-winning TV series Succession, its ‘Living+’ episode aired a few weeks ago, showcasing a very familiar concept that was embraced by investors amidst a whirlwind of excitement.
Living+ was presented as a luxury living community; a planned residential project described as bringing “the cruise-ship experience to dry land.” A real estate venture aimed at senior citizens promising a “safe, secure community enriched with integrated interactions with the cherished family of Waystar’s movie and TV characters.” All brought together by a fully integrated mobile app, allowing residents to enjoy and consume everything that is on offer both within and outside the development.
For outsiders, this concept may seem lightyears ahead, however, for many within the real estate sector, this tech-enabled community living is already here.
The senior living sector has started to embrace technology solutions to enhance the experience of its residents, with forward-thinking retirement operators already rolling out our Spike Living portal. We see Living+ however, as more akin to the BTR sector. BTR accounted for a record share of volume in Q1 2023, according to property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton’s latest UK Investment Transactions (UKIT) report.
Living+ looks to capture and create a sense of community amongst residents, with technology playing an integral part, something that BTR has achieved successfully already, thanks to resident engagement portals like Spike Living.
By helping residents to feel better connected to where they live, this increases the likelihood that they will feel more attached and responsible to their local community. Participation in social and community life not only has benefits in retaining residents, research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a resident has within their building, the more likely they are to renew their tenancy. Similarly, Kingfisher’s The GoodHome Report found that 73% of people who are happy with their home are also happy in general, with a happy home accounting for 15% of our overall happiness.
Whilst Living+ may have been presented as the future, residents can experience the benefits of tech-enabled community living now.
Spike Living facilitates the building of communities, allowing people to connect with one another and bond over similar interests, with access to property managers at a tap of a button.
It’s therefore vitally important that building operators and property managers are able to recognise the signs of anxiety, and are able to provide appropriate support when needed. Warning signs could include a change in a residents’ behaviour, late payments, or a change in appearance, indicating that someone may possibly be vulnerable or going through a difficult time.
Our 2023 charity partner, Dorset Mind, has provided a ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ framework, as a way to encourage a healthier lifestyle. This consists of ‘connect‘, ‘get active‘, ‘take notice‘, ‘learn‘ and ‘give‘. This simple, tried and tested framework can offer many opportunities for residents to take their minds away from stressful situations that are out of their control and provide focus on what they can do.
Here are 5 tips on what property managers can be doing to help support residents, inspired by the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ framework:
1.) Take notice – Communicate with residents to ensure they are aware that support is available should they need it
Anxiety can lead us to believe that we are alone in our personal struggles, and often, residents may feel unsure how to ask for help. By letting them know that support is available, they can feel reassured that they do not need to suffer alone.
For instance, resident portals such as Spike Living, can provide an easy and quick way for residents to ask for help. Rather than needing to leave the comfort and security of their home, they can directly message their property manager who can then assess and provide the appropriate support. Some of our clients have even added a ‘HELP’ button to their portal to enable residents to alert staff if they need help urgently.
2.) Connect and Give – Create community forums and support groups
Across our client base, we’ve seen many online forums created, from encouraging gratitude and positivity to general social clubs, enabling residents to build real-life support networks right on their doorsteps. Having dedicated community forums and support groups can give residents a ‘safe space’ to discuss their worries, and seek guidance. As the saying goes, ‘a problem shared is a problem solved’.
By utilising a resident engagement portal, such as Spike Living, property managers can provide a secure and safe place online that is only accessible by genuine residents, ensuring that residents are not at risk from scammers and strangers.
Property Managers can also use the Spike Living portal to provide dedicated wellness resources to residents such as how to sleep with anxiety, managing emotional wellbeing as well as mindfulness techniques.
3.) Connect – Encourage residents to take part in community events
Whether it’s a coffee and chat morning, or in-person social networking, providing residents with opportunities to combat loneliness and isolation can bring residents together in difficult times.
When anxiety can often make residents feel lonely, opportunities to make friends can make tough times easier to manage.
4.) Learn – Encourage residents to try something new
Arts and crafts sessions, mixology workshops and more. Inspiring residents to take up a new skill or a hobby is a great way to build self-esteem and encourage more social interaction.
Opportunities to engage in educational activities can particularly help to relieve anxiety, and the practice of setting goals, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.
Spread awareness of these events and workshops via the Spike Living portal to increase attendance!
5.) Be active – Get residents involved in fitness and wellness classes
According to Mind UK, a number of studies reveal how physical exercise can help relieve anxiety and improve mental health, not to mention lifting moods, and improving sleep. As well as being a great way to connect with others.
Fitness doesn’t need to be strenuous: yoga and meditation classes can be a great way to introduce residents to a healthier lifestyle. One of our clients introduced ‘Meditate Mondays’, which to date has been attended by over 4,000 residents.
By utilising Spike Living, residents can view and book available fitness classes within a few taps, all from the comfort and convenience of their homes.
It’s becoming increasingly important to encourage open discussions, helping to remove the stigma surrounding mental health.
By ensuring that residents feel supported and cared for in their communities during difficult times, this not only dramatically enhances the resident experience, which is arguably one of the most important elements of any property offering, but also increases the likelihood that they will renew their tenancy.