As of 2019, the Boomer generation is between the ages of 55 and 75, and as they look to move into housing that suits their next stage of life, they are dramatically changing the face of senior living. With 76 million Boomers in the United States alone, and 86 million Gen Xers right behind them, a wave of adults over 55 is bringing new attitudes, new expectations, and new demands to the real estate industry, and we can expect even more change to come.
Years ago, senior housing was mostly “retirement communities” and “nursing homes,” but as senior living communities adapt to shifting demand, adults over 55 can expect a wider variety of options, many of which are more attractive to today’s seniors and offer a more active lifestyle than the senior housing options of yesteryear.
Today, we’re discussing just a few of the ways senior living is changing in 2019 and will continue to transform in the coming years. If you’d like to learn more about senior real estate marketing, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Threshold once you’ve read this article. We’re always happy to talk apartment complex marketing ideas. Now, without further ado, let’s talk about the changing face of senior living.
Demand for Senior Housing Will Rise
The Boomer generation is now reaching the age where many are beginning to look for senior housing options or have already moved out of the homes where they raised their children, built their careers, and established many of their adult relationships. Gen X will soon reach this stage as well, with the oldest among this generation turning 55 in 2020. That means a lot of adults 55 and above are beginning to look or will soon be looking for housing options that better serve a new stage of their lives. There is a major opportunity—and major demand—for housing communities that cater to these groups. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Not only is this sector growing rapidly, it’s also taking on new strategies that better suit new generations of seniors. For example…
Senior Housing Is Taking Cues From Student Housing
Much like student housing, senior housing is becoming more about fostering a vibrant, active community than it is about providing care or relieving the burdens of home ownership. Senior housing communities are focusing more than ever on community programming, social events, and engaging meeting spaces that foster a sense of community and encourage connections between residents.
Since many adults describe retirement and aging as a lonely process, fun-filled communities with lots of events and programming are well-suited to adults over 55 who are looking for new experiences as well as good friends and neighbors to share them with.
More Active Living Communities Are Emerging
Speaking of fun-filled communities, Active Living is one sector of senior living that’s growing quickly to fill new levels of demand. While Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care are all still essential senior living communities that will also grow with increasing demand, growing numbers of young retirees and pre-retirees from around 55 to 65 years of age are demanding communities that challenge the old models of senior living.
These adults see the next stage of their lives as an opportunity for fun, new experiences, and active lifestyles, and senior living is changing to meet this need as these adults look for communities that align with their goals. As more senior living communities are built, we can expect to see many that focus on events, programming, and amenities that support an active lifestyle.
Adults Over 55 Are Staying Closer to Urban Centers
It used to be that transitioning into senior housing meant retiring to the suburbs or the country, but more and more often, seniors are choosing to stay in or near major urban centers. According to David Block, the Director of Development at Evergreen Real Estate Group, “There is certainly a move back to the city among a lot of groups, including a population of seniors who maybe left when they had kids, but always wanted to move back.” Additionally, seniors who already live in urban centers are preferring to “age in place” or “age in community,” meaning that when they do move into senior living communities, those communities tend to be within the same city or town as their previous home, which reduces the feeling of isolation that can come with aging. Responding to both of these factors, more senior housing communities are emerging in and around major metropolitan areas and focusing on keeping their residents within arm’s reach of “the action.”
This should come as no surprise, given what we understand about adults over 55 expecting more active and exciting options than were available in the senior housing of yesteryear. Urban centers provide plenty of opportunities to enjoy novel experiences and live an active lifestyle. Proximity to the city also tends to mean more opportunities for travel, better transportation options for those who don’t drive, and a greater sense of connectedness to nearby friends and family.
Technology Is Taking Center Stage
Gone are the days when senior living communities could safely assume their residents wanted a low-tech living experience. With over 88% of adults aged 50-64 using the internet and 72% of this group using Facebook and other social media, seniors are more tech-savvy than ever. Contrary to popular belief, many adults over 55 are not intimidated by new technology, and appreciate how it makes their lives easier.
Smart home technology and high-speed internet are becoming must-haves for new senior living communities. Moving forward, these communities will leverage the added convenience and connectedness these technologies provide to attract adults over 55 who spend significant time on social media and value staying connected to the online world.
Looking to adapt your real estate marketing plan as senior living continues to change? We can help with that. For starters, check out our article on How NOT To Market Senior Housing. Then consider getting in touch with a Threshold team member to see how we can help you launch modern senior housing campaigns that get results.