Close your eyes and picture in your head what a senior citizen looks like. Do you see a grandmother in her rocking chair knitting? How about walkers, wheelchairs, and early bird specials?
While that’s the image a lot of people conjure up, you need to think again because most of today’s seniors look nothing like that.
Senior’s today are active, technologically-savvy, engaged in life and all kinds of social and physical activities. They don’t want to slow down, and with the past decade’s medical advances, education on diet and exercise, and available research on living longer, they don’t have to.
Not the seniors of thirty years ago.
There’s a good reason why many of us over 55 just don’t “feel” like seniors.
Though medical advancements certainly plays a large part in why we’re living longer and staying more active, the fact that there are just plain more of us is probably part of the equation as well.
According to the Administration on Aging, in 2000, about 605 million people in the world were 60 or older. By 2050 that number is expected to reach about 2 billion. That means for the first time in history, seniors will outnumber children 14 and under. The baby boomers are aging and our segment of the population is quickly on the rise.
And with a rising population comes a powerful block of consumers, demanding better medical care, more innovative housing and other ways to support lifestyles that are much more active and socially engaged than those of the past.
What 55+ consumers want to support today’s life style
When asked what today’s seniors were looking for in housing, Margaret Wylde, CEO of Promatura, a global market research firm, says:
“First off, we must get rid of the term ‘‘seniors.” And I hate the term “aging in place.” What people want is to “live in place.” They’re not thinking about their aging process. They just want a really well-designed house and that will work for them.”
She went on to say:
“Our ability to create an environment that will allow people of the same age range to live near each other has benefits—one being that there is someone at home “to play with” because what happens to people who live in all-age neighborhoods is that the neighborhood typically empties out between 7 and 8 in the morning then families return between 5 and 6 at night, go into the house and disappear.”
More demand means more innovation in housing
Activities and amenities are in demand, but so is the need for social connection. That’s why there’s such a rise in senior communities that offer unique services to help their residents connect with each other and remain happy, healthy and active.
It was rare thirty years ago to find a senior housing community that offered social outings like trips to the opera, theater or even the zoo. And communities of the past certainly didn’t include fitness centers, theaters, game and craft rooms. Many communities also offer political speakers, and lectures by college professors.
As demand increases, amenities will continue to get more interesting, creative, and change to meet the needs of aging boomers who don’t see themselves as growing “old”.
Statistics prove we’re staying healthier, longer.
A recent study says that with the exception of a year or two before death, people are living healthier, longer.
Study author David Cutler, a professor of applied economics at Harvard University says "Where we used to see people who are very, very sick for the final six or seven years of their life, that's now far less common. People are living to older ages and we are adding healthy years, not debilitated ones.”
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