Senior Housing Research

The senior housing market has experienced significant changes recently, and this trend is expected to continue. As Americans live longer, the demand for senior housing is likewise rising. By 2029, all baby boomers will be over the age of 65. In other words, more than 20 percent of the U.S. population will be seniors, and many will need some form of long-term care. Services, housing, and products for seniors will be in high demand.

This strong demand is already beginning to hit the market, as baby boomers are already choosing to live in 55 and over independent living communities. They’re also helping to choose senior care for their parents, thereby influencing design trends in senior housing.

One reason why baby boomers are already moving into senior living communities is because those communities are becoming more varied and attractive. Communities are starting to include a wider range of luxuries and amenities, such as golf courses, tennis courts, pools, nature trails, community centers, and gourmet restaurants.

In addition, facilities are being redesigned into more comfortable and inviting communities. Unlike the previous generation, baby boomers aren’t settling for what’s available. They want choice, floor plans, and activities that suit their lifestyle. These demands are drastically changing the design of senior care housing. Spacious homes and apartments with walk-in closets, large bathrooms, plenty of windows, and extra rooms, like a den, are all becoming more common. Baby boomers want to feel at home, not cramped or institutionalized.

New design elements can also serve therapeutic purposes. For example, some memory care facilities may have retro features from decades ago, like a 1950s soda fountain. This kind of environment can have a positive effect on seniors with dementia, who begin to act more youthful in response to the environment.

Even for healthy seniors in independent living communities, the new floor plans and amenities of senior housing can have long-term positive benefits. Rooms designed for fitness and wellness classes promote active and healthy living. Some facilities include opportunities for continuing education, keeping the residents’ minds active as well.

This emphasis on health and wellbeing is a mental shift away from previous generations of senior housing, which focused on treating disease and sickness. Modern senior living communities aim to enrich their residents’ lives. Besides spas and fitness rooms, modern senior living communities are thoughtfully designed to encourage social connections and combat feelings of isolation. Social events, clubs, and activities are a regular part of daily life and include people of all ages, so residents can interact with younger generations, too.

Multi-purpose community spaces have also become a priority. These rooms can be used for various functions and are adaptable to the needs and wishes of residents. They can be transformed into ballrooms or theaters, exam rooms or cocktail lounges. Amenities and interior design are not the only features undergoing change in senior housing. Residents and their families have higher expectations for the quality of care, as well. For this reason, senior living communities are working harder than ever before to hire and retain an excellent staff. Operators are putting more effort into making the work environment more comfortable and supportive for the staff. For instance, staff break rooms are starting to include ping-pong tables or kitchens with free food.

Finally, residents and family members are beginning to expect more technology. The adoption of technology can include simple amenities, like Wifi Internet and Wii games, but also state-of-the-art monitoring systems to keep track of residents’ health and safety.

If nothing else, senior housing communities are expected to have an active online presence. On a basic level, residents and family members are looking for attractive, user-friendly websites and excellent online reviews. Senior housing communities are starting blogs and getting on social media, too. Technological savvy, both in the facility itself and on the Internet, will continue to be important in the future, as baby boomers grow older and their children--Generation Xers and Millennials--begin to influence the market.