Urban myth has it that if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it will instantly leap out. But if you put it in a pot filled with pleasantly tepid water and gradually heat it, the frog will remain in the water until it boils to death. Allegedly, the frog is not able to detect the gradual increase in temperature until it’s too late.
This is what happens when people stay in their homes too long. They don’t realize the water around them is starting to boil!
There are 74.9 million Baby Boomers, which represents almost 40% of the nation’s population. As this group starts to age, senior living communities are adapting to the cruise-ship mentality of this generation. Here are some of the ways:
1). FLEXIBLE DINING SERVICES
Many senior living communities now offer flexible dining hours, a variety of dining venues (casual to formal), chef presentations and vouchers which can be used to purchase meals, liquor and even groceries. Menus are heart healthy and many offer gluten-free choices, freshly grown herbs, organic vegetables, grass-fed meat, free range poultry and sustainable seafood. “To go” menus are available for those who desire to dine in the comfort of their own residence.
2). ABUNDANT FITNESS / WELLNESS PROGRAMS
Baby boomers want to stay active and healthy. Tai chi, yoga, Zumba and even Pilates are now norms at some senior living communities. Fully-equipped fitness centers with personal trainers, lap pools, tennis, pickleball, bocce and even golf are often available. On-site spa services are common which includes a variety of massages, facials and pedicures.
3). LARGER APARTMENTS / UPSCALE FINISHES
Today’s senior community residences are no longer designed for a single elderly individual, but instead are more suited for couples who want large open floor plans with plenty of closets and ambient lighting. Kitchens have modern stainless steel appliances, granite or quartz counter tops and upscale cabinetry. Bathrooms are luxurious but also have safety devices so residents can age in place.
Baby boomers are internet savvy and spend many hours of their day on the computer. Senior living communities now offer internet cafés and personal residences are wi-fi compatible. Some communities actually provide a tablet to each resident so they can reserve seats for entertainment or see the daily menu.
5). CONTINUING EDUCATION CLASSES
Continuing Education is huge for today’s baby boomers. Senior living communities offer programs either online or live with university professors. There are even some senior living communities located on campuses of major universities so residents can attend classes to further their education.
6). ART INSTRUCTION / CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Access to creative types of programs is important to today’s Baby Boomer. Many senior living communities offer painting classes, photography, pottery and wood working. Cultural programs either on-site or nearby are frequently available to the residents of the community. Investment clubs, wine tastings, book groups and card playing are enjoyed.
7). HIGHER ENTRANCE FEE REFUNDS
Senior living communities now offer entrance fee refunds as much as 90% to provide residents the flexibility to move out, leave to their estate or to a charity of their choice. Baby Boomers are philanthropic and leaving a legacy is important to them.
Baby boomers want to remain active in the local community through their place of worship or local charity. Senior living communities embrace these folks by hosting on-site events, providing transportation and contributing to many local organizations. Residents can also volunteer to serve on several resident council committees or be a welcome ambassador to new residents moving in.
9). MAINTENANCE-FREE LIVING
No longer being concerned with home maintenance and repairs allows today’s residents more freedom to enjoy their life and pursue traveling, taking up a new hobby or perfecting an existing one. Not wasting time waiting for a repairman or being concerned about the cost of the repair are major benefits of living in a senior living community.
10). ACCESS TO ON-SITE HEALTH CARE
Being proactive and pre-planning is in the DNA of a baby Boomer. Knowing that there is health care available provides peace of mind. Baby Boomers do not want to be a burden their spouse or to their children as they age. Some senior living communities even offer on-site physicians services which adds another level of convenience.
In summary, Baby Boomers are reshaping senior housing. The age wave is here and these changes to the senior housing industry will have long lasting effects.