RCFE facility trends

Top 6 RCFE Trends for 2024

The landscape of the Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) industry is always in a state of change. As we step into 2024, several emerging trends in the world of assisted living have become important to pay attention to.

Within this transformative industry, RCFEs are not just businesses or institutions but dynamic communities adapting to the changing needs and expectations of our senior residents, their families, and RCFE staff. 

This article delves into the multifaceted trends shaping the future of assisted living, with a particular focus on the context of RCFEs in California that includes:

  • Technology Integration: Enhancing Quality of Life
  • Person-Centered Care: Tailoring Services to Individual Needs
  • Wellness and Holistic Approaches: Beyond Traditional Healthcare
  • Culinary Improvements: Healthier Dining Experiences
  • Intergenerational Engagement: Bridging the Gap
  • Navigating Employee Turnover in RCFEs: A Growing Challenge

Emerging requirements and strategies to keep your RCFE up to date and current in 2024 are included in the training and coursework that are part of earning your RCFE administrator certificate.

Technology Integration: Enhancing Quality of Life 

As the digital era continues to unfold, technology is emerging as a critical player in redefining the quality of life for those residing in RCFEs. In 2024, these facilities are at the forefront of adopting innovative solutions to integrate helpful technology into the fabric of residents’ daily lives.

The proliferation of smart home devices, wearable health trackers, and telehealth services is becoming increasingly prevalent, empowering residents to monitor and manage their health more proactively. Artificial intelligence (AI) is not just a buzzword but a practical tool, streamlining administrative tasks and facilitating a more personalized approach to resident care. 

Smart home/facility automation, voice-activated assistants, and health tracking services are not just futuristic concepts but tangible elements helping create a technologically advanced and more comfortable living environment for residents.

The proliferation of such technologies carries the potential to help make living at an RCFE more comfortable and secure. It will be important for your RCFE staff to be aware of residents’ use of new technologies and to create guidelines to help integrate technologies into daily living. This integration will help improve the quality of life for residents and RCFE staff.

Personal-Centered Care: Tailoring Services to Individual Needs

In the dynamic landscape of assisted living, the paradigm shift towards person-centered care is gaining momentum across RCFEs in California. This progressive approach acknowledges and celebrates each resident’s individuality, with a commitment to providing personalized and holistic care.

Person-centered care transcends the constraints of a one-size-fits-all model, emphasizing the creation of individualized care plans encompassing the physical, emotional, and social dimensions of residents’ lives. This trend underscores the significance of cultivating a supportive and nurturing community where seniors can both thrive and maintain their autonomy and dignity.

Wellness and Holistic Approaches: Beyond Traditional Healthcare

The concept of wellness takes center stage in 2024, expanding beyond the traditional confines of physical health to encompass the holistic well-being of residents. Starting an assisted living business in California will put you alongside the RCFE industry, at the forefront of embracing holistic approaches to senior living and recognizing the importance of integrating mental, emotional, and social well-being.

Diverse wellness programs, ranging from meditation classes to art therapy and other communal activities, are being introduced to cater to the diverse needs of residents. Outdoor spaces are designed to contribute to the well-being of residents, providing areas for relaxation, exercise, and socialization. The emphasis is on creating environments that foster a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and overall life satisfaction.

Culinary Improvements: Healthier Dining Experiences

Among the emerging trends in assisted living, culinary experiences are becoming a significant factor in residents’ overall satisfaction. A number of RCFEs in California are steering away from traditional institutional dining models, embracing a more health-conscious approach to cater to the evolving tastes and expectations of discerning residents.

A recent study conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found that about half of Americans say they are paying closer attention to what they eat, and 79% of Americans believe that concern over what they eat is essential for health and longevity.

With growing numbers of people paying closer attention to the food they eat, it is not surprising that RCFEs are beginning to offer more health-conscious dining options. This is especially important for residents with health concerns that require special diets, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Emerging trends when it comes to senior facility food choices include: 

  • An increasing number of residents prefer organic foods, freshly cooked meals, and foods with greater nutritional content.
  • Growing numbers of residents desire sugarless, gluten-free, or vegan food choices.
  • RCFEs with dynamic and diversified food menus are often preferred, and having a nutritionist work with your facility can help facilitate these changes and increase resident satisfaction.

Intergenerational Engagement: Bridging the Gap

Recognizing the value of intergenerational connectedness, RCFEs are proactively seeking opportunities to create meaningful interactions between their senior residents and younger generations. This trend aligns with research indicating the positive impact of intergenerational relationships on the overall well-being of seniors and younger individuals.

Innovative programs involving associations, such as community groups and youth organizations, are being implemented to create shared experiences and foster a sense of community. This intentional intermingling not only enriches the lives of residents by providing them with diverse social interactions but also contributes to breaking down age-related stereotypes and fostering mutual understanding across generations.

Inviting younger generations to participate in collaborative events helps ensure residents stay active, socially engaged, and connected to their broader community. As you open your RCFE facility, engaging with your surrounding community will be helpful and vital. 

Navigating Employee Turnover in RCFEs: A Growing Challenge

The terrain of the RCFE industry is marked by an emerging concern – increasing rates of employee turnover. Several factors contribute to this challenge, including the high demand for skilled workers, burnout among caregivers, and a perceived lack of professional development opportunities.

A marked difference from other industries, the healthcare sector is impacted by an employee attrition rate of more than 30%, affecting RCFEs and other healthcare organizations.

Below is an overview of employee-turnover factors for RCFEs:

  • Skilled workforce demand: The surging demand for qualified healthcare workers, coupled with limited supply, intensifies competition among RCFEs. This struggle to attract and retain skilled personnel contributes to rising turnover rates.


  • Burnout and stress: Caregivers, facing the sometimes demanding nature of their roles, can experience burnout and heightened stress. Inflexible schedules, the emotional toll, and long hours lead to job dissatisfaction and an increased likelihood of seeking opportunities elsewhere.


  • Professional development gap: In some cases, there is an absence of clear career progression and ongoing training opportunities at RCFEs, creating a sense of stagnation among staff. This perceived lack of professional development contributes to growing turnover rates.


  • Impact on resident care: Employee turnover has a direct impact on the quality and consistency of resident care. Disruptions in staff-resident relationships can create uncertainty among residents, affecting their overall well-being and security.

To counteract this rising turnover trend, RCFEs can adopt proactive strategies:

  • Competitive compensation: Offering competitive salaries, packages, and benefits enhances the appeal of RCFEs and promotes staff retention.


  • Work-life balance: Recognizing and supporting work-life balance helps reduce burnout among caregivers and fosters a healthier work environment.


  • Professional development: Establishing clear career pathways and providing ongoing training opportunities boosts job satisfaction and retention.


  • Supportive work environment: Cultivating a positive workplace culture where staff feel valued and acknowledged contributes to overall job satisfaction.

By being aware of employee turnover factors, RCFEs can create an environment that attracts and retains skilled professionals, ensuring stability and excellence in the care provided to residents. This commitment to employee satisfaction is not just an investment in human resources but a dedication to the well-being of the workforce and the residents they serve.


Being an assisted living administrator puts you at the forefront of the transforming landscape of the RCFE industry in California in 2024. This transformation brings forth emerging trends ranging from positive factors such as technology integration, person-centered care, holistic wellness, and healthier dining experiences to concerning trends such as growing employee turnover. 

RCFEs are poised to shape and improve the standards of senior living. Intergenerational engagement adds a unique dimension, fostering connections that enrich the lives of residents. Additionally, technology is becoming available to enhance residents’ quality of life, and person-centered care, holistic wellness approaches, and better culinary experiences can help residents stay healthier and more satisfied. 

Finally, high demand for skilled workers, worker burnout, and a need for professional development are concerns that need to be proactively addressed.

In this balance of emerging supportive and challenging trends, RCFEs have the opportunity to improve the lives of their residents. By embracing innovation and fostering a supportive environment, facilities can better navigate the future of assisted living, promising a vibrant and positive experience for residents and staff alike.


About Assisted Living Education
Assisted Living Education has been operating in and improving the growing senior care industry for over 15 years. Founded by certified RCFE administrators, Jane Van Dyke-Perez and Bill Perez, we have licensed more than 1,100 assisted living facilities and built close relationships with the California Department of Social Services, assisted living managers, owners and industry professionals. As senior living care educators ourselves, we strive to contribute our knowledge and skills to continually improve senior care and the satisfaction of those working in the industry.