Baby boomers are setting a trend in retirement living. Boomers are customizing the retirement housing market, adapting it to meet their individual lifestyles, finances, interests, family issues and health needs. The baby boomer generation is redefining the tradition of where to live in retirement.
While previous generations of retirees headed south to warmer climates, most boomers plan to remain in their local communities, staying close to family, friends and community activities. The types of accommodations they are selecting are as diverse as the boomers themselves, running the gamut from:
- staying in their homes;
- aging in place by remodeling their homes;
- downsizing to smaller homes;
- opting for retirement communities featuring lifestyle amenities;
- choosing mini-communities; or
- selecting co-housing settings.
Given today’s economy, a boomer’s retirement decision is based on finances, family needs, lifestage and lifestyle. Finances will ultimately dictate a boomer’s retirement location. However family issues, ranging from the care of aging parents to financially assisting adult children, are another driving force in their decision. A boomer’s lifestage, his or her precise stage in life at the time of retirement, also plays a definitive role in where he or she will live in retirement.
As an example, the needs of the three million baby boomers who support aging parents and adult children in multi-generational homes are far different from the needs of empty-nesters and single boomers. According to the National Association of Home Builders, millions of baby boomers are remodeling their homes to accommodate blended families or to age-in-place.
Single boomers have their own unique retirement location plans. Their interests and needs largely revolve around socialization so many are forming their own mini-communities based on longstanding friendships and shared interests.
Boomers who focus on quality lifestyles seem to opt for sophisticated retirement housing communities with amenities catering to their special interests, hobbies and leisure activities. Others go the condominium route in retirement, purchasing a condominium in their local community so they can stay close to family and friends.
Finally, boomers who want to stay involved and control their own environment are opting for cohousing. Through this collaborative housing arrangement, residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods and function as part of the community
Baby boomers have a number of living options to consider as they contemplate where to live and what type of housing to choose in retirement. But a baby boomer’s ultimate retirement living location will reflect that boomer’s individual needs and lifestyle. The boomer generation is setting a new trend, tailoring their retirement living arrangements to complement their lifestyles.