Credit: shurkin_son via Freepik
How will senior housing change in the future? The senior population is one of the fastest growing demographics in most industrialized economies, at the same time that housing markets across much of the world are becoming more expensive with tighter vacancy rates.
For seniors, this creates both challenges and opportunities. Older adults are more likely to be able to benefit from high real estate prices, using the proceeds of houses fully paid for and purchased potentially decades ago to fund retirements. However, they also have to navigate the other end of the situation: finding somewhere to live.
Seniors Face Changing Needs
As people get older, their needs change when it comes to housing. One reason why senior apartments are a popular option for senior homes is that they're built with accessibility in mind. By comparison, single-family homes often require extensive and costly renovations to make them suitable places to age in place.
Many seniors want to avoid changing homes in case they suffer from reduced mobility down the road. Seniors are looking for stability and are changing their living situations with the future in mind.
Where Independence Meets a Rich Social Life
Housing infrastructure is not the only concern seniors have in mind when they're looking for a place to live. They're also looking for a lifestyle. Solitude can be a major challenge for seniors in single-family homes, a problem that can significantly worsen if driving is off the table.
The solution is living situations that preserve independence but make group activities accessible and easy, such as senior apartments.
The future of fun for seniors is a hot topic right now, and the expectations are changing. In other words, it's moving well past bingo. There's increasingly a focus on group exercises, access to shopping and cultural amenities, and games.
Shrugging Off Responsibilities
As seniors get older, one thing they may look forward to is the option to leave certain responsibilities behind. In some cases, it's an issue of mobility or medical conditions such as arthritis. In others, they're simply ready to let someone else take care of cooking, shoveling snow, and cleaning a whole house.
Even seniors without medical issues or a need for care are moving into senior apartments where they don't have to worry about making all of their meals or driving to get to amenities like a pool.
Senior living communities offer the opportunity to enjoy peace of mind and fewer responsibilities at home. They provide housing that lets seniors kick back and focus on enjoying their days without many of the hassles that come with homeownership. It blends independence with not having to worry about the day-to-day, and that can allow seniors to age in place even if their support needs increase.
As older adults re-assess their living situations, the housing market will have to adapt. More options for seniors seeking independence without the demands of single-family homeownership offer compelling opportunities in a stretched housing market.