Are Baby Boomers ready to live in your retirement community? It’s a serious question with many who are in their late 60s. When it comes to making a decision about almost anything, this very different generation says, “Hold on, for a second. Let’s try to do it our way!”
Boomers have a history of challenging the norms and demanding something different—and better. In the 1960s, they exercised freedom of expression about civil rights, the war, and feminism. Now in their 60s, they’re voicing their desires about the future of senior housing, and senior operators need to pay attention.
Many Boomers are going their own way as it relates to relocation strategies and housing choices. Boomers are focused on living longer and defying age stereotypes that don’t resonate with them. For starters, they view themselves as individuals with lots of personal power. And their viewpoint affects their decision-making process.
As the best educated generation in history, they see themselves as culturally literate, better informed and more technologically savvy than earlier generations. They believe they know what they want and they demand a voice in many things from food services to community operations to physical surroundings.
You may need to consider how communications strategies and community can better engage with them. To help, here’s a list you can use to address the changes you might need in your retirement community.
- Green as a way of life: Boomers are more environmentally conscious than previous generations. Green provides opportunities to get involved, affect change with others, be heard, and influence others for the benefit of everyone. From community recycling programs, to using compost in community gardens, to lectures on sustainability, green efforts are seen as practical and desirable by younger residents.
- Providing ample living space: A number of retirees are looking for two bedroom units with more than adequate space. Storage space is important, as they relocate and downsize from their late-life homes. Space allows them a dedicated place to entertain new acquaintances and old friends, and provides plenty of room for visiting grand kids.
- Fitness and wellness activities. Offering a wider range of physical activities – from easy to ultra-challenging – may give a community a broader appeal. Many have maintained healthy lifestyles to this point and want to continue as they spend their next few years maintaining their health during these physically-demanding years.
- The wired world: Wi-fi technology is not a luxury because Boomers see it as a necessity. Consider that Boomers and seniors are the fastest growing online demographic, so they expect to be connected in their community. Most residents have a laptop or desktop computer, and many own smartphones, e-readers and tablets. They might use Skype and other social to connect with the grandchildren or show pictures from recent doings on social networks.
- Pet friendliness: Pet-friendly senior-living communities are on the rise. Studies have been made proving that having a pet is medically beneficial (reducing high blood pressure, relieving stress and companionship). On top of the medical benefits, the seniors get a feeling of independence from having to take care of their pet. If the community has only a few units available for those with pets, some are willing to wait for one to open up.