The Changing Picture of Retirement Housing for Boomers


The senior housing market is changing considerably. That’s according to research on Boomers by designers, architects, remodelers and homebuilders surveyed by The National Association of Home Builders.

More than 77 million adults in their 50s and 60s represent 26% of the total U.S. population and hold the largest amount of discretionary income. This generation also is the country’s largest number of homeowners.

Boomers are different and have always been vocal about what they want. In a few words, they are looking for comfort and convenience, and spaces for relaxation and entertainment.

Whether Boomers are remodeling or building new retirement homes, they are more sophisticated, savvy and active, and they want lots of options and choices in their home designs. They have their own ideas about the features and types of homes they want to live in.

Just as they are known for dictating personal choices throughout their lives, this group of Boomers wants to imprint their individualized ways as they move into the next stage of their lives. They are demanding a mentally stimulating and interactive environment both inside and outside their retirement communities.

Top of the list in the new scenario is a series of “must-haves” built around holistic wellness. The majority prefer a location near a park where they can jog or walk. About half prefer having a pool nearby.

Probably more important is a fitness center in a retirement community. They want amenities that promote physical activity. Surprisingly not as important is proximity to a medical center or to public transportation.

HolisticA combination of mind and body offerings is high on their list. They want on-site fitness, community spaces that support social exchanges, programs as well as space for continued learning. They seek views and access to nearby natural environments.

Recognizing their growing and potential physical limitations, they prefer a single-story home rather than multiple floors.

Other features are low maintenance yards, energy-efficient appliances, large windows, home office space and media centers with plenty of room for computer equipment.

The research says that they are more likely to select a house based on lower maintenance requirements and the desire to live in a well-maintained community.

Retirement community providers need to understand that overall Boomers want a positive retirement living experience based on exceptional community design that fits their level of personal needs.