Showing posts with label senior living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label senior living. Show all posts

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Why seniors will change real estate

One buzzword in real estate these days is “multi-generational housing” — where families gather under one roof, often for financial reasons. We asked Rita Lamkin, an Orange County consultant on senior housing issues, how the aging American population will house itself — and their relatives — in coming years.

Us: Is the biggest opportunity in new senior communities, or retro-fitting homes to meet the need?

Rita: The biggest opportunities are in developing new, diverse, smaller-scale 55+ independent/assisted/dementia care, continuing care resort communities (adds skilled nursing) and “residential share” housing alternatives with universal design and energy-smart features. The massive golf-oriented communities produced in the last decade attracted relocating retired couples who were then expected to move a spouse in need to a separate assisted living facility. Many seniors today plan to work into their 70’s and one-third of all boomers are spouseless and/or childless. This sector will rely on close friends, not family, as they age. Also, while the majority of boomers want to stay put, the theory of “Aging-in-Place” by simply retrofitting existing homes is flawed. Americans drove 5 billion miles last year caring for seniors still at home and many worry about unscrupulous caregivers. A new neighborhood level solution may be “NORCs” (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities) as aging cohorts band together for mutual support.

Us: How will the 55+ housing market be impacted by the economic struggles of their kids? Or, for the just 55 crowd, their own parents?

Rita: There is unprecedented demand for affordable seniors housing. Anyone who has searched assisted care for a parent is already thinking about their own options and won’t leave that decision to their 40-something dependent children. Boomers have been dubbed the “sandwich generation” because many spent retirement savings to pay for their kids’ education and/or their parents’ assisted care. This new generation of seniors will not suddenly become chronically frugal but they will prioritize and they still believe in real estate. Unless U.S. builders figure out how to provide affordable seniors housing in good, close locations, boomers may move to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean.

Us: Many multi-generation homes have been created by the recent economic downturn. Temporary trend – or something that may linger?

Rita: Last year, 1.2 million households disappeared as unemployed adult children moved back home and seniors moved out of assisted living to share living space with their grown children. This will linger until the economy begins to recover and seniors can sell their homes and live near but not with their relatives. The new buzz word will be “Chosen Family” and Multi-generational will transition to “Situational Housing.” Boomers will seek “like minded” friends to share expenses, enjoy companionship and take care of each other. I call them Boomer Roomies.

Us: I know builders talk of the renewed popularity of ground-floor bedroom for older residents. Are these the kind of trends we’ll see in the new housing?

Rita: Yes, majorities of 55+ boomers want one-story homes and settle for a master bedroom on the ground floor. That’s because over 40% of those 50-64 report mobility issues due to arthritis, diabetes, back/neck or breathing problems. Other boomers want a bedroom suite on the main level to accommodate a guests, aging parent or adult child bouncing back home. I am currently teaching Certified Active Adult Specialist in Housing (CAASH) seminars at UC Irvine Extension which explores these building trends as well as diversity in elder care centers to accommodate cultural, language, religious or lifestyle preferences without violating Fair Housing laws; new senior center designs; technologies available that can report changes in an elder’s routine, detect a fall, provide interactive applications between family and health care professionals; new products that identify health issues before they grow. Universal design is the new standard.

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

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