The Wichita Eagle is reporting that baby boomers are reshaping retirement communities and developers will need to adapt in the coming years to meet their needs.
Some experts think the future of retirement living depends on social connection — specifically, what their residents have in common.
“For the past 25 years, we’ve mainly built retirement communities on the golf course or on the top of a mountain somewhere,” said Andrew Carle, director of George Mason University’s assisted living and senior housing administration program. “That won’t be enough for baby boomers. We invented 12 flavors of Coca Cola. We expect more flavors. There are 78 million of us demanding that. We’ll congregate, but we want our own groups.”
According to the report, almost 60 percent of second-half baby boomers say they plan to buy a new home when they retire. But downsizing doesn’t have to mean moving to a continuing-care retirement community that includes several decades’ levels of care, from independent living and skilled nursing to Alzheimer’s assistance.
After all, only 16 percent of today’s retirees have moved to seniors-only developments.
“What we hear from boomer focus groups is that people don’t want to move away from the life of the broader community,” said Sheri Peifer, vice president for research at Eskaton, a major Northern California senior-living nonprofit. “They want to live near their neighbors. They want to go to the church they’ve attended for years.”