Many residents of North America’s largest cities want to see more senior living communities in their neighborhoods—though the exact amenities or services they’d like the communities to have vary.
That’s according to the 2017 Aging in Cities Survey from Welltower Inc. (NYSE: HCN), a health care real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Toledo, Ohio.
The survey, which was commissioned by Welltower and conducted by APCO Insight, tracked responses from 3,000 adults across 10 cities: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington, D.C.
Urbanization and aging demographics are two of the most critical social trends currently facing the United States, the report says. These factors drove Welltower, which recently announced it plans to open an office in New York City in 2018, to commission the survey.
“There are really important changes that will transform health care that we at Welltower are trying to stay ahead of,” Mercedes Kerr, executive vice president at Welltower, told Senior Housing News.
Cities need more senior living
Currently, city dwellers feel a definite need for more senior housing nearby.
Though 47% of the urbanites cited the need for different home-based aging options, a not-so-insignificant 40% identified the need for more senior living communities in their cities, the survey shows. Another 40% said their current city needs additional mental health providers for seniors, and 33% cited memory care as a top need.
Additionally, when asked to consider where they want to live at age 80 and beyond, 61% of all city dwellers listed a location with access to high-quality health care as their top choice.
Welltower is no stranger to embracing demographic trends and going where the demand is. In New York City, where Welltower is planning a sprawling new senior living high-rise, the number of people over 60 years old increased by more than 12% from 2000 to 2010, according to the New York Census.
Other senior living providers also are trying to solve the urban development puzzle. One of these, Belmont Village Senior Living, recently announced the groundbreaking of a new seven-story building in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood that is slated to include 149 assisted living and memory care residences.
Senior living providers planning to open a community in a large metro area might want to first make sure it will have ample access to public transportation and parking.
That’s because 40% of the surveyed adults listed “easy access to transportation” as a desired amenity in a prospective home when they are 80 or older. Parking garages also made the wish lists of 37% of these respondents, according to the survey.
Additionally, 30% of those surveyed wanted the places they’ll age in to be pet-friendly, and another 30% said they valued a well-designed kitchen. Other top-valued amenities included full-service laundry or dry cleaning (28%), gym and fitness activities (27%), elevator access (27%) and outdoor space (24%).
Though it’s a common selling point among many senior living providers, just 23% of those surveyed listed a swimming pool as a most-valued amenity.
City dwellers also hope to have access to an array of services and features as they age.
Of those surveyed, 63% listed transportation to and from events or activities as a feature that would make their life easier when they’re 80 years or older. Other desired perks were house cleaning services (58%), being within walking distance of a grocery store (57%) and services that let you order groceries from home (55%).
Written by Tim Regan