As a Senior Housing advisor, I speak to a lot of people who are considering a move to a senior living community. I’ve started to notice an interesting trend lately in which younger people (baby boomers) are considering senior living retirement communities. Many of these baby boomers have had to deal with their own aging parents and now they want to plan ahead. They don’t want to be a burden to their spouse, partner or children.
Baby boomers have arrived!
Baby boomers are people born between 1946-1964. The number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise to nearly 24 percent from 15 percent.
Living Longer. According to the Urban Institute analysis of Social Security Administration data, men who turn 65 in 2030 can expect to live six years longer than those who turned 65 in 1970, The life expectancy for women at age 65 increased by four years over the same time period. “The gender gap in longevity is shrinking, and we are projecting big declines in the share of older women who become widows,” says Richard Johnson, a senior fellow and director of the program on retirement policy at the Urban Institute.
Better health. Most people are also enjoying better health as their life span gets longer. The number of adults age 80 and older reporting fair or poor health fell from 43 percent in 1998 to 34 percent in 2012, according to an Urban Institute analysis of University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study data.
Ethnically diverse. The older population is also becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Between 2014 and 2060 the share of the older population that is non-Hispanic white is projected to drop by 24 percentage points, from 78.3 percent to 54.6 percent.
Working longer. Many baby boomers are working longer into their older ages than the generation that came before them. The proportion of men between ages 62 and 64 who are working or looking for work increased from 45 percent in 1994 to 56 percent in 2014, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Technology allows people to work remotely from home and connect with people all over the world.
Living alone. “More baby boomers are likely to be living alone in old age compared to their parents. There are three reasons for that.
- More baby boomers have never married. Nearly 10 percent of the youngest baby boomers are forecast never to have married by ages 55 to 64, which is twice the rate of their parents.
- More of those who did marry will become divorced or widowed by the time they reach ages 55 to 64—25 to 30 percent of them compared to 15 to 20 percent of prior cohorts.
- Childlessness is on the rise. In 1989, 26 percent of couples aged 25 to 34 had no children, compared to only 12 percent of such couples in 1959. These trends will result in increase in the percent of older Americans living alone, from 21 percent of those age 63 to 72 today, to 24 percent of those 10 years younger, to 37 percent of the early baby boomers.”
Health care demands. Demand for elder care will also be fueled by a steep rise in the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory issues, which could nearly triple by 2050 to 14 million. The aging of the baby boom generation could fuel a 75 percent increase in the number of Americans ages 65 and older requiring nursing home care, to about 2.3 million in 2030. It is estimated by the year 2020, nearly 12 million people will need long-term care, and this number is sure to grow with the aging baby boomer population
Retirement communities of today. This new generation of residents want choices and flexibility. They are health conscious and expect a high level of service. Activity programs that end at 4:00 pm are not going to do it for these folks.
The cruise industry made the shift. Senior living communities need to follow. 10-15 years ago, the only people who went on cruises were basically senior citizens. Now, cruises offer ‘experiences” and offer personal services that are catered to the individual. You can get a personal massage or have enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner with your partner. How about a Zumba class or a nature excursion off the boat. Choices. Flexibility. Catered Lifestyle.
Retirement communities of tomorrow. Fortunately, some senior living communities are catching on. Flexible dining options, wine tastings, tai chi classes are being offered at some of the more progressive senior living communities. LBGT retirement communities are starting to emerge.
Recently, news broke that Jimmy Buffet is planning to develop a Margaritaville retirement community in Daytona Beach, Florida for Parrotheads “55 and better” seeking an “active adult community”. While wasted away again, the Latitude Margaritaville will open its first branch in Daytona Beach, Florida, with similar communities also in the works. “Inspired by the legendary music and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and best-selling author Jimmy Buffett, your new home in paradise features exciting recreation, unmatched dining and FINtastic nightlife,” the Latitude Margaritaville site says. The $1 billion project, a collaboration between Margaritaville Holdings and Minto Communities, aims to create 7,000 homes in Daytona Beach; since announcing Latitude Margaritaville. The property has reportedly already received over 10,000 registrations.
The baby boomer generation has been at the forefront of a lot of change over the last several decades. How they age will be no different. Change is coming so get on board.