The active adult communities have just about everything a Baby Boomer could want. There are amenities like exercise facilities, craft rooms, in and outdoor swimming pools, demonstration kitchens, walking trails, lakes, golf carts, gathering rooms, and energy efficient homes with great floor plans with profession landscaping maintained for you. There are activates galore with arts and crafts, writing classes, travel clubs, cooking demonstrations, softball, walking clubs and about 100 other activities at least. My wife says it’s kind of like living on a cruise ship with so much to do. Yes indeed the Baby Boomers seem satisfied with the 55 and over active adult communities. This is not to say that 55 communities will not see some changes as larger numbers of Boomers move in.
On the other hand senior living communities for those aged 62 and over are not so well suited to today’s Boomers, but that may be about to change as the new generation of younger seniors wanting to maintain independent living, move in. Many of the residents of Senior Communities now are in their late 70s, 80s and 90s. Vacancies are now starting to be filled by younger seniors from a generation with different expectations. Boomers are less frugal and seeking more variety and experiences.
For example, many of the Senior Communities offer on site formal traditional dining rooms with white table cloths. Meals are included for either breakfast or lunch, then dinner, which is a formal affair. In recent years formal dinners have been downplayed on cruise ships in lieu of the informal and casual buffet arrangement, specialty restaurants or the sandwich bistro which is more to the Boomers liking and active lifestyle. The same kind of changes to meals are slowly starting to take place at Senior Communities as they try to accommodate the Boomers who may not want the formal dining experience every day. Boomers may want dinners on a terrace, or in a more modern looking setting, a bistro, or even take different meals from day to day. Other ideas are a display kitchen, fireplace, valet parking of mobility devices, more room between tables, more window seating, room service and a Maitre D’ to overlook the operation.
Boomers are more active longer in their lives and also want more variety, thus prompting the Senior Communities to slowly change their services. Meals are not the only thing that could change. Boomers may want a more modern look to their surroundings and different space designs. Boomers want to be more intelligently stimulated so offering courses on different subjects would fulfill the Boomers mantra of “Life Long Learning”. Travel and group trips to more extensive places than taking the bus to the local apple grower would be more in line with today’s Boomers who are more used to traveling than the previous generation.
As the Boomers turn in to Seniors, life at a Senior Community rather than an Active Adult Community could be more serving of their needs, but will need to evolve to serve the baby boomers with their different culture and generational expectations. Senior communities are already doing surveys to determine what the younger seniors and future residents want.
The same types changes will need to take place at those community senior centers which have activities for seniors but no housing. Senior centers are usually run by local governments and are located all across the country in local neighborhoods. Some senior centers are starting to provide career counseling, act to keep seniors independent, offer exercise classes, learning about health issues and some offer hot meals.
Accommodating the wave of us Boomers becoming Seniors will be a challenge to Senior Communities and Retirement Communities. Boomers will put their unique generational mark on many things during this Third Age of our lives.