Senior Housing: If you build it, will they come?

Did you see the movie “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Kostner? If not you can either read the IMBD entry or understand that a crazy farmer in Iowa with a voice in his head builds a baseball field and baseball players magically begin to show up to practice and play ball on the field. Every newspaper or magazine article referencing aging issues and senior housing today seems to preface the article with something to the effect that “as the Baby-Boomer Generation continues to get older….”. For those of us that follow the industry, we agree that the wave of boomers (cliche) will provide growth for senior housing and healthcare needs amongst other things over the next 30 years….but those seniors and Boomers aren’t going to magically appear in random places. Realistically, most Boomers will just begin to collect government benefits over the next 10 years and will most likely not have a direct impact on the senior housing market immediately. Most likely, Boomer’s parents will be the occupants of the current senior living communities and centers. Considering the average age of someone seeking skilled or semi-skilled care is averaging somewhere between their late 70s to early 80s means that these baby boomers have 15-20 years before they are prime candidates for these “senior” products.


The Boomers are still worrying about their parents rather than giving serious thought about senior housing options for themselves. If you’re a senior housing developer in rural America, ignore that crazy little voice in your head that says “If you build it, they will come” when mentioning the Baby Boomer generation in your business plans. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean that seniors are going to mystically appear from the rows of corn surrounding your project.