What (Some) Baby Boomers Want in a Retirement Community
Joseph F. Coughlin is director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab (http://agelab.mit.edu). His research explores how demographic change, technology and consumer behavior drive innovations in business and society. Coughlin teaches in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Sloan School's Advanced Management Program. He is author of the new book The Longevity Economy: Unlocking the World's Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market (Public Affairs, 2017).
According to the American Association of Retirement Communities, nearly 15,000 baby boomers retire every day – and visit and selecta community to live – an extraordinary number by any estimate. In a previousarticle, Should I Stay or Should I Go, factors that go into the decision toage-in-place or move to a ‘retirement community,’ were discussed. Each of theseelements should be considered by real estate developers, communities andregions seeking to position themselves to attract baby boomer investment.
A recent survey, conducted by Ideal Living Magazine,reveals some additional insight on a highly select group of baby boomerslooking to retire to sunnier southern climes. The survey reports the results of~1000 Ideal Living Magazine readers responding to 35 questions about what theyare looking for in retirement housing. The respondents were between the ages of 45 and65.
This is a very biased survey sample. Readers of IdealLiving Magazine are already interested in moving (91.5% revealed that theywere interested in buying real estate) and are more likely to have higherincomes than the average baby boomer. Despite this bias, findings provide afew data points and some potential insights on innovations in retirement housing and community design:
These findings provide a limited view into whata select group of baby boomers may want in a retirement destination. Carefullyconsidered, these desires may be useful in stimulating innovations inpublic and private community design, services development and quality of lifefor older adults of every strata.
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