More and more specialized retirement communities are emerging as the 65+ population booms, catering to seniors outside the mainstream who don’t want to move into more traditional communities where age may be their only commonality with fellow residents.
Part of the drive behind these “quirky” retirement communities is the aging of the baby boomers and the general mentality of this generation.
“Niche communities will be the next generation of senior housing,” says Andy Carle, an assistant professor at George Mason University who specializes in senior housing. “We need many more choices for boomers.”
While current and prior generations of seniors have largely accepted traditional senior living communities, incoming generations aren’t expected to be so docile.
“[The boomers] want every option available, whether it’s home care or assisted living, and they want to design their own care,” says Val Halamandaris, founder of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). “They don’t call it the ‘Starbucks Generation’ for nothing—they want [their care] customized. They want it their way.”
A recent MarketWatch article listed eight nonconventional types of retirement communities, including a community for aging Indian-Americans, one for elderly Chinese Americans with Feng Shui design, and a number of senior cohousing communities.
There are other examples of specialized retirement options for those interested in leading active retirement lifestyles, such as Lake Weir Living, characterized by MarketWatch as a “toy-friendly” boomer community in Florida that allows retirees to continue enjoying and using their RVs, motorcycles, boats, and cars.
A Texas community called Escapees Care takes the RV angle to a whole new level, providing a site where senior visitors can park their RVs and take advantage of nursing care, meals, and other activities and amenities. “Escapees” are able to pay for services on a month-to-month basis, but they (and their RVs, of course) can stay longer—even years—if they want.
Affinity retirement options include a community for retired postal workers, communities catering to retired military personnel, and the North Hollywood Senior Artists Community for writers, actors and other artists. Less quirky kinds of communities include university-based retirement campuses that attract life-long learners, senior living organizations that serve the aging Jewish population, and LGBT-friendly senior living communities seeking to offer safe and accepting environments.
“For senior housing companies to remain profitable, innovative ideas are needed,” says J.J. Reyes, who with an associate is in the process of planning a specialized retirement community overseas that will cater to a niche market while taking advantage of cheaper costs of living.
Read more at MarketWatch.
Written by Alyssa Gerace