Cost Reduction, Conveniences & Amenities: 3 Top Drivers for Retiring Baby Boomers
The baby boomer generation has moved through the American population like a giant wave moving through the ocean. They moved through the school system, through the work force and now they are beginning to move through the retirement community as well.
Between now and 2025, this large segment of the population is going to dominate the seniors housing market. Baby boomers have fared well with advancements in medicine and technology, meaning that their age group has also a much longer life expectancy than any other age group has had before.
How does this affect you, as a developer?
Baby boomers are changing the seniors housing market
Baby boomers are influencing the senior market substantially just because they do not fit the same mold that their parents did. They have a different perspective on aging. Not content to be simply corralled into traditional senior housing, they are looking for active vibrant living communities that will reflect their diverse lifestyles.
In addition to this, more and more baby boomers are choosing to age in place. While some may prefer to relocate to retirement communities (including independent and assisted living apartments), others prefer to stay in the homes they have inhabited for decades. Whether they decide to move or not, aging in place is a growing trend among baby boomers. In their minds, this allows for more freedom, safety and comfort while promoting healing, giving them continuing control over their own lives, and creating a healthier and happier lifestyle.
A blending of services has occurred as a result of this. Baby boomers are looking to live in housing which is designed to promote independent living but with the added bonus of having services that will address assisted living when and if needed. This gives a much more vibrant edge to retirement living.
The 3 main drivers that get baby boomers’ attention
As the baby boomer generation rolls into the senior living market, there are three main drivers that get their attention: cost of living reduction, more conveniences and better amenities. These drivers all tie together for a highly desirable living experience for baby boomers in their retirement age.
Cost of living reductions. If recent trends are any indication, baby boomers are seeking new ways to spend their retirement dollars. They want a leaner and simpler lifestyle with lower housing expenses and higher margins for living. Many boomers are downsizing, selling their homes and moving into smaller units, leveraging the surplus of their home sale to carry out their retirement budgets. Cost reduction is a tremendous benefit and driver for many baby boomers looking to live out the next phase of their life with less expenses and higher margin for lifestyle.
Conveniences and services nearby. Many baby boomers enjoy visiting public libraries, health centers, shopping malls, museums and the like, so the availability and location of adequate conveniences and services nearby is another key driver for the biggest generation heading into retirement living. The bulk of baby boomers want to live simple and enjoy this next phase of their lives having a large assortment of conveniences at their disposal. As they mature into the senior age, proximity to groceries stores, drugstores, leisure areas, dry cleaners and other services provide the coveted convenience baby boomers are seeking.
Resort-style amenities. Gathering with friends, catching a movie matinee, enjoying a long stroll or going for a lap in the swimming pool are just a few of the activities often found on the to-do list of any active baby boomer, and living in an environment where this is possible, is a must for today’s senior living apartment buildings or complexes.
Boomers are looking for and driven to developments that provide a resort-like experience and edge over a traditional senior home experience. These resort-type communities are geared toward the active lifestyles of today’s seniors and nurture the physical, mental and emotional well-being of its residents. They offer amenities such as swimming pools and whirlpools, clubhouses, fitness centers, tennis courts, outdoor picnic areas with barbecues and pavilions, on-site laundry facilities, to name just a few.
And this is where such a great opportunity lies for developers.
So, how can developers make their case to baby boomers?
Developers need to tap this emerging market and move away from the traditional senior living approach.
Gone are the days of seniors on a walker or sitting in a wheel chair in the living room, reading a newspaper. That is not going to be the senior living community that most baby boomers are going to want to engage with. They rather go to a community that offers activities they like to do, that keeps their interest, that keeps them healthy, that has more things going on that they have a continued interest in.
Developers have been responding to the drastic change in the seniors housing market by providing different products and by becoming more integrated in their communities.
There is also a shift in the type of buildings being constructed. Developers are putting mixed-use developments out there that are designed more like resorts. They are including more amenities as well as providing more conveniences in their products in order to attract baby boomers.
The retail market is also changing to adapt to boomers. A well-known drugstore chain in the United States, for instance, is locating walk-in medical clinics in their drugstores to take advantage of the senior market, so that when a senior person comes in to pick up their prescription they can also visit with a doctor.
As developers try and cater to baby boomers in retirement age, they must look into what’s important to them and how they can help them get there.
As the needs and desires of this aging population continue to change, only those developers who keep abreast of their preferences will be the ones best positioned to dominate the seniors housing industry.