Over the next five years, Metro Washington’s population of people 75 and older—the oldest Baby Boomers—will grow by 73,000. That’s a 32% increase by 2024. During that same period, the number of households over age 75 who move annually will grow by 33% to reach over 10,000 movers.

How will the new home industry meet the new housing demands for this growing market?

Several senior housing reports, including AARP’s 2018 Home Community Preference Survey, report that the main concern of Baby Boomers is to maintain their independence as they age. Here are three ways to make that happen:

  1. Promote residents’ safety and security through support networking.
  2. Provide homes that people can share, making housing more affordable and helping to combat loneliness.
  3. Provide or educate consumers on transportation resources; a loss of transportation options is a major reason for moving to senior housing.

Start planning for the aging Baby Boom Market

Here are strategies that will help you (a) get Boomers to move from their current home, and (b) deliver an appealing and affordable home that will allow them to age into their late 70’s and 80s.  One that gives them what they most want:  their independence.

Strategy #1

Create a Village Network or support an existing Village Network within the community that you are targeting. These networks provide basic support services that help seniors safely live in their home. Residents can then purchase additional services as they age. According to AARP, 89% of adults are interested in joining a Village Network to help them stay in their community and are willing to pay an annual fee. Read more about Village Networks:

Strategy #2

Include home sharing in your designs. Designs plans for roommates by including dual master bedrooms and, if space allows, design separate living areas in a multi-generation home.  According to AARP, adults age 50 and older today are much more willing to consider home sharing for extra income or if they need help with daily activities. Those who responded that they would not consider sharing a home dropped from 59% in 2014 to 29% in 2018. Also, those who responded that they currently share a home increased from 2% to 16% during that same period.

Strategy #3

Provide or promote modes of safe transportation to ensure residents can access community support services. According to AARP, only about 30% of respondents age 50 and older report having used a ride-share company and 55% are not likely to use ride-share in the next year. Educating people on the benefits and use of ride-share services will help people maintain their independence and ensure they stay actively engaged in community life.

Conclusion

The oldest Baby Boomers present a growing segmentation opportunity for stand-alone communities or within larger developments. Along with offering targeted designs, your planning efforts should consider the surrounding community resources that will help maintain the homeowners’ independence.