John O'Connor
John O’Connor

It’s funny how the worm turns.

When I began writing for McKnight’s nearly three decades ago, senior living had two ironclad rules.

The first was that relatively healthy residents did not want oxygen tanks in the dining areas. The restriction had little to do with safety, and a lot to do with reminders of mortality.

The second was that developers and operators looking to put up a new community could expect fierce opposition from the vocal locals.

The Americans with Disabilities Act put the kibosh on the first item. Rightfully so. Yes, getting old and dealing with its attendant challenges is not always pleasant, or pleasant to witness. But those further along life’s path do not deserve to denigrated or shunned. After all, if the proverbial tumblers line up, that very well could be us some day.

As for the second item, it appears that changing demographics may be depleting the ranks of the NIMBY crowd.

For as we reported earlier this week, an AARP survey found that four-in-five adults aged 50 or more years think it is important to have active adult communities and assisted living communities where they live.

Overall, 27% of adults in that age group who participated in AARP’s 2018 Home and Community Preferences Survey said that having such communities nearby was “extremely important” to them personally, 35% said it was “very important” and 23% said it was “somewhat important.”

As sea changes go, this is an important one – especially for those who make their living in the senior living sector. For what it really shows is that such properties are losing their reputation as a nuisance and gaining support as a valued component of the surrounding community.

As Mom used to say, that sure beats a poke in the eye.

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