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What is the future of retirement communities in the U.S?

What is the future of Retirement Communities?

future of retirement communities

Retirement communities are places where older adults can live independently or with some assistance, while enjoying various amenities, services and social activities. Retirement communities have evolved over the years to meet the changing needs and preferences of the aging population, especially the baby boomers who are now entering their retirement years. 

In this blog post, we will explore some of the trends that are shaping the future of retirement communities in the U.S.

Interior of the Northtown branch of the Chicago Public Library, one of two similar projects that feature community space with senior apartments above.


Top Image Photo Credit: MarketWatch

6 Future Trends in Retirement Communities

1. Location, Location, Location

One of the main factors that influences the choice of a retirement community is its location. There are reasons for retirees to consider staying in place if their family is nearby. Other considerations for staying put are factors such as health care providers, cultural attractions and recreational opportunities.

Downsizing Trends Can Influence Retirement Location Considerations

There is a trend among empty nesters to ‘ditch’ the big suburban home and to relocate to a more urban environment where they can more easily engage with others and the variety of amenities. This is also a trend that active seniors are considering… especially if they not seeking the active golf or tennis lifestyle. 

Climatic Consideration are Changing

The era of the ‘snow birds’ may be ending.

With warming trends growing more evident, the southern states are losing some of their luster as retirement destinations. In fact, more northern locations are rising in senior relocation trends.

retirement communities in urban environments

Top 10 BEST Cities for Senior Living – 2022

1st – Hartford, Connecticut
2nd – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
3rd – Burlington, Vermont
4th – Portland, Oregon
5th – Minneapolis, Minnesota
6th – Madison, Wisconsin
7th – Lancaster, Pennsylvania
8th – Wilmington, Delaware
9th – Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
10th – Boston, Massachusetts

Top 10 WORST Cities for Senior Living – 2022

302nd – Rancho Palos Verdes, California
301st – Palm Beach, Florida
300th – Alamo, California
299th – Brookhaven, New York
298th – Murrieta, California
297th – Bakersfield, California
296th – Carlsbad , California
295th – Port St. Lucie, Florida
294th – Newport Beach, California
293rd – Torrance, California

2. Technology Is Simplifying all of our lives

Technology can make life easier and more enjoyable for retirees, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many retirement communities are adopting smart home devices, telehealth services, online learning platforms, social media apps and other digital tools to enhance the comfort, convenience, safety and connectivity of their residents.

Technology can also help seniors monitor their health, manage their finances, access entertainment and stay in touch with their loved ones.

healthy architecture

3. Healthy Architecture provides key benefits

The design and architecture of retirement communities can have a significant impact on the well-being and satisfaction of their residents. Many retirement communities are opting for more spacious, modern and accessible layouts that promote natural light, ventilation and views.

They are also incorporating more green spaces, outdoor areas, walking trails and gardens that foster a connection with nature and encourage physical activity. Additionally, some retirement communities are offering more diverse and customizable housing options, such as cottages, villas, apartments and co-living spaces.

4. The Economies of Scale for Healthcare Services

Healthcare is a top priority for many retirees, especially as they age and face various chronic conditions and disabilities.

Retirement communities are striving to provide high-quality and affordable healthcare services to their residents, either on-site or nearby.

Some of the healthcare services that retirement communities may offer include primary care, specialty care, dental care, pharmacy services, rehabilitation services, wellness programs and emergency response systems.

Some retirement communities may also partner with local hospitals, clinics and health insurance providers to ensure better coordination and coverage of care. This is especially important when building a more affordable senior living ennvironment.

Some retirement communities may also partner with local hospitals, clinics and health insurance providers to ensure better coordination and coverage of care.

This is especially important when building a more affordable senior living ennvironment.

5. No Pets Allowed

Who doesn’t have a ‘fur baby’ these days. And that trend is especially true for empty nesters and retirees.

Pets can provide many benefits to seniors, such as companionship, emotional support, stress relief and motivation for exercise. Plain and simply, pets are a member of the family.

Many retirees want to bring their furry friends with them when they move to a retirement community, or adopt a new pet after they settle in. Therefore, many retirement communities are becoming more pet-friendly by allowing pets in their units, providing pet amenities such as grooming stations, dog parks and pet spas, and organizing pet-related events and activities.

pets in retirement communities

6. Prêt-à-Manger is more the rule today

Prêt-à-Manger (‘ready to eat’) suits the modern American lifestyle, which makes us a society that craves ease of access to a variety of goods… and food is at the top of that list.

Dining is not only a necessity but also a pleasure for many retirees who enjoy good food and socializing with others.

Retirement communities are elevating their dining experiences by offering more variety, But, this can also be a significan factor in the cost of living. 

Some variety of dining options, ideally in the surrounding community (preferrably within easy walking distance) gives retirement community residents more choice and allows for residential packages that allow for greater range of affordability.

Also, food delivery is another option for residents who want to have more control of their food choices.

The Future of Senior Living has Arrived

What tends to be more evident in the senior living development community is that today’s aging population is not ready to accept a ‘cookie cutter’ solution for their retirement years.

Both living facilities and services are becoming more customized as baby boomers demand to place their own ‘stamp’ on their lifestyle.

Even those who have more limited incomes are looking for a variety of housing solutions, and those development companies that can meet those various needs will be poised to succeed in the coming years.