Lisa Westerman's Blog
Baby Boomers remain the single largest demographic, and their transition into retirement age continues to change the senior living landscape. At more than 74 million strong, this generation will completely cross the retirement age threshold in the next decade, and 52 million Americans are already enjoying their golden years. That being said, the quality of life needs impacting our valued elders are likely to shake up the status quo going forward. These are senior living trends that are expected to unfold in 2020.
1: Location Matters
Today’s health and wellness conscious seniors are living more energetic lifestyles. With that in mind, retirement communities are increasingly being developed in close proximity to robust shopping, dining, and cultural arts facilities. Gated communities that offer amenities such as health and fitness centers, recreational spaces, and public transportation for day trips are enticing places for seniors seeking improved quality of life.
2: Embracing Technology
It wasn’t many years ago that the complexities of emerging technologies limited their usefulness to Baby Boomers and older generations. But innovation has all but eliminated the user unfriendliness of those early desktops and hand-held devices. Seniors are increasingly pleased with Smart-home technologies that are voice operated, such as the friendly Alexa. Beyond controlling lights, televisions, and other home items via voice command, tech gadgets are topping lifestyle wish lists.
3: Fifty-Five & Older Communities Prove Desirable in 2020
The 2019 housing market saw modestly inflated single-family listing prices. That was largely due to low inventory and fierce competition between downsizing Baby Boomers and upstart Millennials. The latter struggled through some economic adversity, such as student loan debt, that caused them to buy starter homes a tad later than previous generations. A log jam between the two groups over smaller homes has developers creating more 55-and-older communities that eliminate competition of younger homebuyers.
4: Aging in Place is a Thing
While some aging parents and grandparents opt to downsize, buy into communities with other seniors, or move into assisted living facilities, many are determined to remain in their family home. The priceless memories of holiday gatherings and children’s first steps are not worth trading. Aging in place continues to trend among independent-minded seniors, and family members may want to consider augmenting this lifestyle rather than try to persuade mom or dad to relocate.
Support systems such as community groups, volunteerism, and having a visiting nurse check-in on parents and grandparents are more likely to enhance the quality of daily living. It may seem logical to children and grandchildren to have your elders come live with you. However, it’s essential to respect their independence.
5: Isolation Issues
It would be something of an understatement to say that our valued elders enjoy an independent spirit. As admirable as that sense of self-determination may be, the loss of a spouse or community members tend to reduce the human interactions our elders have on a daily basis. Isolation can be the downside to independence, and it’s up to friends and family members to maintain the communication channels open.
It’s worthwhile to set up group texts and emails to make sure loved ones consistently visit. Getting involved with pastimes such as going to sporting events and impromptu family get-togethers can go a long way to reduce feelings of isolation.