6 Ways the Baby Boomers Made Senior Living Better

senior woman with dog© iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Baby boomers have a history of challenging the norms and demanding something different—and better. In the 1960s, they exercised freedom of expression about civil rights, the war, and feminism. Now that they’re in (or approaching) their 60s, they’re voicing their desires about the future of senior housing, and with nearly 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day, senior living operators and developers better pay attention. And what do boomers want?

1. Pets welcome.
If Fido can’t go, they’ll pass. But it’s not enough for Fido to just come along; boomers are looking for amenities for their best furry friends too. Think doggie spas and fenced-in runs.

2. Pamper me.
The sterile hospital feel is so retro, and not in a good way. Tomorrow’s senior housing consumers want it to look and feel like they’re on vacation, and in a sleek, contemporary setting (modern is in). Don’t forget the robust list of amenities: boomers want to have ample choices, more services, maybe even chocolates on their pillows.

3. More space, please.
On the whole, downsizing is not in their vocabulary. Most boomer consumers want space for all their stuff, a dedicated place to entertain new and old friends, and plenty of room for the grandkids to visit.

4. Anti-boredom.
Yes, they want to play golf, but boomers want to be active in other non-sports-related ways, “on-campus” and off. They want workshops to tinker in, gardens to cultivate, and volunteer opportunities in which to be engaged. They want fitness centers and a social wellness calendar packed with Zumba, yoga, pottery, guest lectures, concerts, computer classes, mixers and more.

5. The city life.
Experts are seeing a surge in popularity among urban housing options and settings for retirees, who are no longer worried about school districts, parking, and other metro area drawbacks typically associated with parents of young children. A city’s “walkability” is an important consideration here as well, both in terms of walking distance and ease of walking (for those who may have mobility issues now or later).

6. A wired world.
Wi-fi is not a luxury but a necessity. Boomers and seniors are the fastest growing online demographic, so they’ll need to stay connected. Besides, how else will they be able to Skype with the grandchildren or post pictures from last night’s wine and cheese social to Facebook?

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