So-called “Baby Boomers” are the most talked about generation in the country. At approximately 77 million people, they're also the largest. Born between the years of 1946 and 1964, this post-World War II generation is now between the ages of 51 and 70.Being the largest segment of the US population, as Baby Boomers reach retirement age they also have a great deal of disposable income, and are using much of it to drive trends in the design industry.Further, this demographic is also driving the trend in life expectancy, living much longer than might have been expected at the time they were born. Needless to say, this group of folks have developed some very clear ideas about what their “Golden Years” should look like, including the spaces in which they choose to live.21st Century Senior LivingA recent article at Redfin.com, titled The Top 10 Senior Housing Trends for 2016, presents a stark outline of the “shape” of senior living in the 21st Century.
- Technology – Changes in technology make it possible for seniors to adapt to many of the challenges that come with the aging process. From wearable devices that automatically alert caregivers or emergency assistance of a fall to large-screen phones, remotes and other important devices, seniors have more high-quality care options than ever before. There are even geo-fencing options available that can help keep individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia inside safe spaces.
- Home Care – Aging in place has become increasingly attractive to many seniors. They want to be able to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Affordable in-home care and changes in technology have helped to make home care a more viable option for many individuals. A recent AARP study which estimates that early 90 percent of people over age 65 want to stay in their home for as long as possible.
- Senior Living Partnerships – Senior living providers are rapidly becoming major power players in the health care scene. Physicians, hospitals, insurers and other organizations within the United States health care system are coming together to create more comprehensive care that provides exactly what many seniors need. As the baby boomer generation hits their senior years, their increased numbers give senior providers increased impact.
- Person-Centered Care – Everyone deserves to age with dignity and to be cared for as a whole person. Person-centered care isn’t a new trend, but it is one that is rapidly gaining ground. When aging individuals receive person-centered care from nursing homes, doctors, and other health care organizations, they are assured that they will be treated as an individual, rather than being treated based only on the capabilities that they no longer have.
- Life Plan Community – Instead of “Continuing Care Retirement Communities,” many aging individuals prefer the image created by a “life plan community.” Life plan communities are dedicated to helping seniors make the most out of every moment, from living a full and active life to maintaining their health for as long as possible.
- Memory Care – More and more memory care units are embracing the theory behind reminiscence therapy and extending it. They’re stimulating all the senses, not just sight and sound, but even smell and touch, and creating communities that are reminiscent of the world in which seniors grew up. This helps give many seniors a firmer foundation for retrieving long-term memories of the past.
- Senior Co-Housing – Senior co-housing offers all the convenience of a single-family dwelling while simultaneously reducing costs and providing a sense of companionship. They have shared responsibilities and access to communal caregivers to assist with daily tasks.
- Going Green – Many assisted living facilities are embracing the green movement. The goal isn’t just to entice earth-conscious baby boomers. Going green also helps cut heating and cooling costs, improve water conservation efforts, and meet Energy Star standards across many of the devices used in the facility.
- Location – One of the most critical changes to senior housing trends is the changes made to appropriate locations. Many facilities are considering the area’s appeal to younger seniors. Many senior living communities are learning that the smart thing is no longer to build next to a mall or urban center with lots of shopping. Instead, they’re looking for new opportunities for engaging, senior-friendly activities for those early retirement years.
- Independent Living, Not Assisted Living – More facilities now are being designed to appeal to the under-80 crowd. Baby boomers know that they can expect to live comfortably on their own, experiencing reasonable health, for a long time. The senior housing market is gradually adapting to that need by providing independent living facilities that celebrate independence.
What have you done to make your way into the growing marketplace of Baby Boomers? Are you focusing on retirement age individuals and couples? How can you approach this dynamic demographic to boost your design business?Looking for help to be more successful in your marketplace? Get in touch with TD Fall today.