According to a recent Nielsen marketing report, in less than five years 50% of the U.S. population will be over the age of 50, controlling 70% of the nation’s disposable income and poised to inherit $15 trillion over the next 20 years.
The baby boomer generation is clearly in the driver’s seat — and the result is that the assisted and senior living industry is quickly adapting to meet the needs of a generation that won’t settle for anything less than the best. Learn more about how baby boomers are redefining assisted living as we know it.
Baby Boomers Are Redefining Assisted Living
Firmly in control and able to pay for the care and services they deserve, baby boomers are redefining assisted living. Unlike the generations before them, baby boomers won’t be moving to senior living communities out of medical necessity. Instead, lifestyle choices will be the driving force behind their decisions.
The shift from medical services to lifestyle offerings has had a huge impact on all areas of assisted living.
Here’s how the industry is shifting to meet the needs of the affluent baby boomer generation:
Boomers Require Age-Sensitive Language
The senior living industry is overhauling the language they’re using to market to baby boomers, who “don’t want to be reminded of their age, but of their accomplishments and of their future,” Steve Olenski, a contributor to Forbes points out, suggesting marketers should concentrate on the bucket list concept when pitching to baby boomers.
“If you think ‘aged,’ ‘elderly’ and ‘senior’ are effective buzzwords for baby boomers — think again.” Olenski says.
The industry is responding to this language overhaul. For example, the term continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) is being replaced with the term “life plan communities.” “The change, it is hoped, will improve the overall perception and speak to the current needs of today’s seniors,” suggests Ben Mandelbaum, chief operating officer of LTC Consulting Services and Senior Planning Services.
Baby Boomers Expect Customized Amenities in Assisted Living
As the most affluent generation ever, baby boomers are used to customized consumerism — the one size fits all approach doesn’t compute with this demographic. As a result, assisted living communities are offering a greater variety of amenities and programs that appeal to different lifestyles and accommodate a wider range of interests. The result is that most retirement communities offer a variety of options for hobbies that coincide with baby boomer’s needs.
These changes go beyond increased options for social activities. Baby boomers have been lobbying for improved care and privacy across the senior living industry. Many assisted living and retirement communities have responded by offering increased responsiveness from medical staff who are more specialized than ever before.
Senior living communities across the country are also offering baby boomers access to specialized medical staff including counselors, massage therapists, physiotherapists and psychiatrists. Other personalized staff on site at these communities include trained geriatric care managers, gourmet chefs, nutritionists and personal trainers.
How Assisted Living and Nursing Care Play an Important Role
Although they’re taking a back seat in the marketing strategy of most senior living communities, assisted living and nursing care are still an important offer to baby boomers — if and when needed.
Baby boomers expect access to the medical and nursing support that they will inevitably need, however the expectation is that these services will be a basic offer available across the board no matter where they go.
The value-added elements that will help baby boomers choose one community over the next is more likely to involve the activities, amenities, independence and privacy offered. With financial independence and an array of options to choose from, baby boomers are successfully redefining the senior living industry as they refuse to change their expectations or the lifestyle they have for their retirement years.
Do you have questions about finding an assisted living community for baby boomers? Our Senior Living Advisors can help you. Learn more about finding assisted living in your area, or visit our resources for caregivers.