I can’t believe that I’m saying this but… as I was doing the research for this blog topic, I found myself getting excited for my own retirement, which is about 20 years away — or perhaps longer if I don’t get my online shopping habit under control!
I was inspired by the activities that many seniors enjoy participating in these days (you’ll see what they are below) and got just a little distracted from my task, thinking “Oh! I could do that!!”
But my personal reaction is exactly the point. Seniors have a much younger and more vibrant mentality these days. They still have the universal human desire to learn and create, supported by the growing belief in our society that it’s never too late to do anything. They feel like they’ve earned the right to enjoy this time and they refuse to be put out to pasture just because of the date on their birth certificate.
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Today, rental housing for seniors encompasses two opposite ends of the spectrum — luxury resort-style living and government-assisted affordable housing — plus everything in between. However, the three key trends that are driving both luxury and affordable development and redevelopment projects in this growing market are intrinsically the same:
— ageing in place
— community integration
— activities beyond bingo
Aging in Place
Modern senior living communities consider the desire to age in place by offering independent living units along with assisted living and memory care. The design of units typically addresses aging in place with features like larger bathrooms to accommodate attendants and easy to open windows and doors for residents with arthritis.
Amenities that attract seniors to a property can encompass on site attributes as well as those offered in the surrounding community. The time-tested attribute location, location, location, definitely still applies here. For this particular target market, the ideal location is in close proximity to public parks, shopping, restaurants, theatre, wellness center and spiritual resource center. Where possible, walking paths on the property should connect to park trails and city sidewalks.
When such amenities do not exist nearby, they can be brought on to the property in the form of retail, restaurant, and wellness/therapy spaces on the ground floor, as well as courtyards and terraces. In an effort to promote integration with the community and bring in additional revenue, such amenities can also be open to the public.
Activities Beyond Bingo
Today’s retirees realize that they now have the freedom to continue with the hobbies they love or perhaps try something new. In order to give residents the opportunity to continue enjoying their favourite activities, some communities are building innovative amenities like garages and workshops for tinkering and restoring cars, bikes, furniture, etc.
The ability to participate in gardening and growing food has been fairly common within retirement communities for quite some time. However, activities which complement this pastime are becoming more popular, such as cooking classes and jarring/canning get-togethers that make use of the food grown.
Also on the rise in senior communities are clubs and classes that encourage a number of forms of artistic expression, including painting, photography, theatre and even comedy — after all, who doesn’t love to laugh, no matter what their age! Such clubs often have a champion within the community — a member who also is a leader and inspires others to participate while experiencing their own personal fulfillment.
On the physical activity side, in addition to the very beneficial swim fit, yoga and tai chi classes, dance classes are growing in popularity, while more upscale communities might include golf courses and tennis courts.
Of course the benefit of staying active both physically and mentally is a better quality of life for longer. And the benefit of a vibrant, active and happy community to your property management company is lower resident turnover and a lot of free word of mouth marketing. Just imaging your residents telling their kids and grandkids about all of the amazing things they are doing with their days, and how they are having the time of their lives.
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