Savvy Seniors Explore New Activities at Retirement Communities

Canada's baby boomer generation is changing the face of the Canadian retiree; today's boomers and seniors are more active and vibrant than ever before and have increasingly greater life expectancy. The current average life expectancy for Canadians is 81 years, up from 78 years just fifteen years ago.

Seniors choosing to embrace the retirement community lifestyle by residing in a retirement community are expecting not only to live there much longer than previous generations, but are also demanding an array of activities and amenities so that they can truly enjoy their retirement.

For retirement community developers, consideration of activities and amenities has to begin well before the construction of the residence. Potential residents need to answer some key questions to find the right match; does the residence have clearly separated areas for social/lounge entertainment? Does it have a games room and an area for arts/hobbies and crafts? How integrated are the indoor and outdoor activity areas? Seniors should also take stock of their interests vs. the location of the residence. For example, seniors who enjoy shopping and cross border travel should look for proximity to border crossings while seniors who love the arts and theatre should looking for residences located in thriving local arts communities.

Retirement community residents are demanding more personalized, individual approaches to activities and amenities within their communities. No longer can residences simply offer one-size-fits-all packages; the individual interests of residents can vary greatly.

Inside retirement communities, there is a clear trend towards integrating technology into seemingly analog activities. Many residents for instance, have swapped paper books for Kindle readers and are instantly downloading best sellers to read and discuss at book club meetings. Kindles offer easy, light, and portable access to any book, and with eight selectable text sizes, it offers seniors a customizable experience for comfortable reading.

Another tech trend is interest in computer-based brain training products that help sharpen and improve memory and auditory functions. Many seniors are using programs like PositScience and turning it into a regular residence activity. Seniors are also interested in a host of computer and Internet training so they can reach out to friends and family through email and social media.

Social events like wine and cheese gatherings, meet and greets, gardening and farmers markets remain popular and stimulating for residents. On the more spiritual side, Drum circles, Yoga and physiotherapy remain essential components of overall health and wellness.

Residents remain quite interested in guest speakers, live entertainment and music as staples of their social calendars, along with daily interaction with fellow residents, family and friends.

Successful retirement communities have to constantly evaluate the diverse and changing interests and needs of their residents. Residents who share vastly different interests, lifestyles and hobbies are the lifeblood of any community. By constantly adapting to those changing interests and needs, retirement communities can ensure that all residents truly feel at home.