Lynne Moore headshot
Lynne Moore

Q. Is active adult housing successfully addressing the needs and preferences of baby boomers?

A: Baby boomers have become a highly studied demographic over the past few years, and it is clear that their preferences are different than those of previous generations.

Baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — are characterized as being focused on health and wellness, living an active lifestyle and maintaining social connections that will allow them to stay independent and to live with a sense of purpose. They are self-sufficient, living longer and choosing a higher quality of life. Many are still working and some are continuing to work into their retirement years.

Active adult housing, or age-restricted/targeted housing, is a product that has been developed and designed to appeal to this demographic group. So far, it appears that baby boomers are embracing this active adult lifestyle, and at a younger age than traditional independent living.

If they are to make the move to an age-restricted community, boomers have indicated that their living units should feel like home and have features similar to the home they have moved from, including open floor plans, full-function kitchens, washer/dryers, large closets/extra storage and a patio. They also want options and choices with respect to indoor and outdoor amenities that facilitate and encourage social interaction and shared activities. Security and maintenance-free living are important factors in this move decision, but they do not need or want services such as meals, laundry, transportation, assistance with activities of daily living, etc.

Of course, cost always is an issue, and boomers may be more discriminating about value and concerned about their ability to pay over the long term. To address different levels of affordability and value perceptions, many operators now are offering upper income/luxury, middle income and low income/affordable active adult product offerings and brands within their portfolios. Although it still is a work in progress, emerging active adult products are becoming more diverse, and designs and amenities are constantly evolving to address the preferences of this important target market. It is anticipated that segmentation will continue and that this product type will evolve as more experience is gained with this segment of the older adult population.

Lynne Moore is president of MDS Research Company Inc., a national senior living and healthcare consulting firm based in Fort Worth, TX, that has been serving clients for more than 50 years. MDS is a two-generation company — she is following in Jim Moore’s footsteps. Lynne Moore is responsible for all MDS market research-related projects involving all aspects of senior housing and healthcare. She can be reached at (817) 731-4266 or [email protected].

A version of this column appeared as “You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers” in the August 2023 print issue of McKnight’s Senior Living.

The opinions expressed in each McKnight’s Senior Living guest column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Senior Living.

Have a column idea? See our submission guidelines here.