Happy February friends! With the first month of the New Year behind us, I wanted to take a moment to address what Baby Boomers appear to want & need in 2019. With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day (according to AARP), the senior housing industry is a growing and changing force in virtually every community in the US. According to Sara Zeff Geber in a recent Forbes article, there has been much progress in these 5 key and desirable areas for seniors:
#1: Dining rooms are no longer cold cafeterias but foodie heavens with top chefs!
#2: Technology is being utilized to keep residents safer & more engaged (finally!).
#3: More senior communities are being built in urban areas, increasing access to recreation & promoting inter-generational living.
#4: There are increasingly diverse options for wellness in both body and mind (more than just walking & yoga).
#5: More communities are combating ageism (senior stereotypes) and negative terminology (turning away from terms such as” elderly”).
But there is one senior demographic that Forbes writer Sara Zeff Geber suggests isn’t being explored enough: solo agers. A Pew Research study reports that close to 20% of Baby Boomers will age alone (either due to not having children or having lost a spouse as of retirement age). With a global economy and increasingly mobile world, millions more Baby Boomers with children live thousands of miles away from them. The next chapter in the senior housing industry needs to address the specific needs of solo agers.
In one example, Geber reports that most senior housing is designed for couples or singles – but what about singles who need to move but don’t want to sever long-term friendships? One answer is for senior communities to include duplex units with dual master suites, or more roommate-style living a la Golden Girls! Could existing communities reconfigure some spaces to provide an option for solo agers with siblings or friends to live together? It’s a question worth asking!
In another example, Geber points out that solo agers often struggle with who to name on their powers of attorney and health care directives. Some states have adopted “professional fiduciaries” to fill this role, and the hope is that other states will adopt a solution to this need as well.
In short, 2019 appears to be another progressive and transformative year for senior housing trends. I’d like to think of this as the year for ‘thinking outside the box’ and creating solutions that move beyond ‘one size fits all’. Every individual and every retirement is different, perhaps our housing solutions should be too!
All my best,
Bobbi Decker & Associates fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. For more information, please visit: http://portal.hud.gov/