In a piece for realtor.com, Rachel Koning Beals wrote that retirement communities are not and will no longer be the cookie cutter developments built in sheltered locations we’ve become accustomed to expect. Instead, 26% retirees and older Boomers, just like Millennials and Gen Zers, are migrating back into cities and denser suburbs wanting spaces to pursue their varied interests on their own terms.
Developments such as the NoHo Senior Arts Colony in North Hollywood have hallways for rotating art, theater space, studio spaces available for residents to paint, salon-style discussion groups on politics and history and IT help for residents.
The target market for these senior developments is large and influential. In 2016, the number of households with people 80 years_+ jumped 71% to 7.1M people, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. All indications are that this group will double by 2037.
Currently in the works, retirement communities are tech focused in urban and suburban destinations where seniors already live. “Transportation on-demand, dining on-demand online learning on-demand…all play well in the senior market,” said Dan Hutson, chief strategy officer for HumanGood, one of the country’s largest senior living community owners and operators. “Giving priority to voice-first tech such as Siri and Alexa, even over mobile tech, is tailor-made to serve older adults.”
Look at the financial benefits of providing tech-focused communities for seniors. According to the MIT Age Lab, the cost of living for one single 85-year-old person using sharing-economy services costs $2,947/month compared to one single 85-year-old person living in an assisted living facility, including meals and housekeeping, costing $6,433/month.
The sharing economy also works at the provider level as well. Why have a commercial kitchen and food services staff when food can be delivered from favorite restaurants and cafes?
Tele-health or video check-ins for easily diagnosed ailments and blood pressure checkups can mitigate and/or reduce emergency room visits. Geo-spatial intelligence wearables can help with falls, wandering neighbors and appointment reminders.
Being mindful of affordability, looser zoning policies for multi-generational homes, resourceful economy sharing and the use of current and developing technologies for service and medical providers make aging in place and/or aging in community a realistic option for present and future of senior living. Certainly, these types of senior communities are reasonable investment options as well.