If you live around here, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the sudden growth in the number of senior living communities all around us. The “silver tsunami” of baby boomers either in or approaching retirement age are the catalyst. They’ve transformed the U.S. at every stage of their lives, and they’re transforming it again.
Bisnow reports that many of these seniors are already changing how investors are developing and managing these communities. If you have a parent or grandparent of this age, you know very well that they’re determined to live as much as individuals as possible.
“They’re not trusting of ‘the man,’ and the last thing they want is to be forced to move into a senior living situation,” Mosaic Design Studio founder and CEO Lisa Cini said. “A commune maybe, but something their parents might have lived in, forget it.”
So what are and aren’t baby boomers willing to live in? Well if your community has any of the popular signs of a nursing home like cafeterias, bland and calming design, etc., then they’re likely going to find it repulsive according to Cini. Due to this, investors are even changing what they’re called – Continuing Care Retirement Center being the new favored term. Cini’s firm has begun building larger apartments that focus on amenities, especially when it comes to dining options.
Some of these ambitious designs include different restaurants in the communities as well as a focus on programming activities to go against the usual perception of the isolated, monotonous nursing home. The more there is to do, the greater sense of “community” these residents will have. And that’s really what they’re striving for.
One of these communities, Lasell Village in Newton, Massachusetts, was actually built on a college campus and requires residents to take 450 hours of classes, including fitness programs, per year. While this may be a more extreme example of programming, it’s a surefire way to ensure people who want to stay active actually do stay active.
Of course, as expected, all of this has come with a larger price tag. For CCRCs without assisted living or memory care, monthly rates range from $3K to $6K across the country, and even higher in major markets. With medical assistance, monthly rates range from $4K to $8K, which does unfortunately lock out a large percentage of baby boomers. Many facilities also come with one-time entrance fees. Lasell starts from $450K to $1.2M on top of a $4,200 monthly fee. To compare to our area, assisted living and memory care communities usually range from $3K to $5K around here, so it’s feasible that a new and updated CCRC could run even cheaper provided these boomers are independent.
So baby boomers want independence over nearly all other factors. The AARP reports 90% of that “me” generation plan on sticking it out in traditional housing, no matter the cost or difficulty (which could be problematic to some). As they age, many are going to need care, and while it’s unknown what type of buildings they’re going to pick, it’s safe to say that the concept of CCRC will end up being a popular one.