Developer Dilemma: Evolving the Senior Living Experience to Meet Changing Needs

4 minute read

Developer Dilemma: Evolving the Senior Living Experience to Meet Changing Needs

senior living baby boomers

There are 74.1 million baby boomers in the world, according to Pew Research, and 73 percent of them view renting as more affordable than owning a home. That’s a sizable portion of potential renters you should be focusing your marketing efforts toward. However, to maximize on this potential, you must first understand the terms, trends, and needs of the older generations.

Baby boomers — typically born between 1946 and 1964 — are adjusting to a new lifestyle centered around leisure and entertainment. As such, they are looking to downsize and find a home that better meets their post-retirement needs. But that’s not to say seniors desire traditional retirement homes.

Boomers do not want a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to senior living. Many seniors have no intention of settling into a step-down home as their parents did before them. With more breakthroughs in the medical field and continued advancements in technology, seniors are living longer and enjoying a better quality of life as compared to previous generations.

It’s no longer sufficient for senior living communities just to focus on personal care and great service. Boomers desire unique amenities, modern conveniences, and an exciting new beginning.

How Developers Can Transform Senior Living

While many boomers are embracing the advances in technology to meet their needs without relying on assisted living, there is still a clear market for senior living in the multifamily space. As developers begin to alter the designs of these communities, more of the demographic is drawn to the thoughtful design of housing, exciting amenities, and the surrounding community.

This generation is very mindful of these design and physical features. From technology and nature trails to accessibility and entertainment, they are looking for a new horizon of living.

Build More Indoor-Outdoor Community Spaces

Most Baby Boomers desire a strong sense of community where they live. One of the most common complaints about retirement homes is that they are often isolated from the apartment community side.

Developers can break this barrier by including more common gathering areas to foster relationship-building with other residents and to create inviting places for relatives to visit.

For example, indoor spaces should be furnished with small seating groups for intimate discussions. Additionally, you can add a shared kitchen to allow for group meal preparation. Outdoor areas can include walking paths, nature trails, and spaces for gardening so that residents can maintain their active lifestyle with their new neighbors.

Rose Villa in Portland, Ore., for example, boasts pedestrian-friendly living with venues that encourage social interaction as well as plenty of areas for physical exercise.

Integrate Bold Colors and Innovative Design Concepts

According to an AARP study, 90 percent of baby boomers want to age in place, with comfort and a home-like atmosphere at the top of their minds. Seniors desire bright, strong colors and bold designs. They do not want to live in spaces that mirror nursing homes or sterile hospital waiting rooms. Consider replacing the Victorian parlor feel with warm designs that mimic ski lodges or upscale hotels.

Some communities are even offering apartments in multiple floor plans to help give seniors a customizable, comfortable space. This allows residents to choose certain features and design aspects like flooring, cabinets, and countertops.

One Wingate Way, for example, offers residents flexibility in every aspect of the living experience. In addition to stylish common spaces and outdoor lounge areas, One Wingate Way provides a variety of unit floor plans for residents to choose from and tailor to their individual needs.


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