What Baby Boomers Want from Senior Housing Communities

Everyday more than 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65. Many seniors continue living in their own homes or the homes of family members as long as they are able to do so. However, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) estimates that five to eight percent will choose to live in a seniors-only residential community.

The ASHA classifies senior housing as a residential setting with a minimum age requirement, typically 55. Senior housing is then broken down into five categories: senior apartments, independent living, assisted living, nursing care and continuing care retirement communities.

There are more than 76 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. If five percent of those choose to live in a senior housing community, that would be more than three million! At that rate, the market is ripe for senior living facilities as more and more baby boomers become senior citizens.

Seniors are very specific when it comes to housing, and they know exactly what they are looking for. Most senior housing communities have distinctive amenities that set them apart from standard multifamily housing units. Popular amenities for senior housing include:

  • Location, location, location — Locations near popular retail and dining establishments or, better yet, first-floor retail and dining options for residents are a big hit among seniors.

  • Exercise and activities available — Wellness centers, walking trails and nature are among the most wanted amenities in senior housing developments.

  • Community rooms — Community rooms allow residents to build relationships, share hobbies and participate in group activities. Developers may even consider the possibility of adding an arts and crafts room or even a woodshop to the development.

  • Sustainable — Senior citizens care about the environment, too. Sustainable features are a favorite among senior citizens. Develop a senior housing community that is good for the health of the residents, good for the environment, and good for the budget.

  • Greenhouse Project model — Different from individual apartments, the Greenhouse Project is a model of senior living that features shared kitchen, dining and common areas with private bedrooms and bathrooms. Under the Greenhouse Project model, 10 to 12 residents might share one kitchen and living area but have their own private bedrooms. This model is also associated with a high level of care, so each group of residents receives care much like they would in a traditional assisted living facility. The Greenhouse Project creates an environment that is less institutionalized than many senior living facilities.

  • Comfortable and cozy — Create an environment that is welcoming and homey. Private apartments with bathrooms and full kitchens or kitchenettes will also diversify the housing units from the standard nursing home, and allow seniors to really feel as though they are keeping their independence, while gaining community.

Most importantly, a senior housing or retirement development must break away from any stigma carried by nursing homes. Residents in a senior housing development are generally active and healthy, looking for a residential community that makes retirement comfortable and fun.

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