Baby boomers are a group of people born between 1946 and 1964. They were labeled as such of a significant surge, or boom, in the population starting in 1946, thanks to soldiers coming home from World War II. This generation has had a huge impact in society because of the way they have been changing the game, which now includes retirement. Duncaster, a retirement community in Connecticut, has shared some of the changes on the horizon for retirement communities now that baby boomers are reaching that stage of life.
What Do Baby Boomers Think About Retirement?
While your idea of retirement might be not having to set an alarm for work and perpetually being able to work on your tan, baby boomers strive for something different. According an article published on Kiplinger, a survey conducted by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management has recorded a whopping 70% of pre-retirees dreaming of using up their retirement years to pursue a new career for themselves, with some of them planning to launch a career in entrepreneurship, citing stimulation and satisfaction as two of their primary sources of motivation.
This discovery may sound weird, especially considering that one of the definitions of retirement in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life”. However, this is only one of the things that set this generation apart. Leisure Care made a list of a few others:
- Baby boomers value being active and independent, thereby working longer than previous generations. In 2022, 27% of male and 20% of female baby boomers over the age of 65 are projected to stay in the workforce.
- The baby boomer generation is more highly educated than previous generations. In 2014, 25% of people over the age of 65 had a bachelor’s degree, as compared with only 5% in 1965.
- This generation has been living longer, with life expectancy rising from 68 to 79 years old.
- Compared with previous generations, baby boomers are wealthier and have better financial control. The past 50 years saw a significant drop in poverty rate among seniors, from 30% in 1966 to a mere 10% in the present day.
- Baby boomers are not afraid of being alone; in fact, they value being alone so much that around half of women over 75 lived alone in 2014.
With these factors in mind, the senior living industry asks an extremely important question, “What do baby boomers want to be different about a retirement community?” Retirement homes and communities definitely need to step up their game in order to accommodate the needs and preferences of baby boomers, some of which are:
- Technology: As a generation that witnessed huge improvements in technology, baby boomers value the convenience and connectivity that technology offers, whether it is to stay in touch with their gran children, upload photos to social media or play mind-stimulating online games.
- Active and social lifestyle: Baby boomers scoff at boredom, so it is important that a retirement community offers an endless array of activities to sustain an active and social lifestyle. These days, community bingo just doesn’t cut it anymore. Boomers like to feel that they could still do the same things they did when they were much younger, quicker and more agile such as dance, exercise, socials and mild sports activities.
- Privacy and independence: Baby boomers place a high premium on independence, and this includes life after retirement. Instead of a nursing home that feels like a 24/7 safe house, boomers prefer a community that offers both the comfort of having their own sanctuary and the reliability and safety of assisted living, all while feeling that they’re a valuable part of the community.
- Convenience of city living: When you talk of retirement, the brain tends to automatically conjure images of golden sunshine, turquoise seas and endless servings of piña colada, but baby boomers dream of something different. As it turns out, baby boomers still want to retire in a place that affords them the convenience of city living, where culture, arts, fine dining, healthcare and great shopping are all found a stone’s throw away from each other.
What Is the Perfect Retirement Community for Baby Boomers?
The senior living industry faces the great challenge of replacing what they’ve always known about life after retirement and building a community around it. Dinner at 4 in the afternoon, and bedtime at 8 in the evening? That just doesn’t work for baby boomers. If anything, a routine is the last thing a baby boomer would look for in a retirement community as it pretty much follows the same pre-retirement pattern.
Baby boomers have a need to live life to the fullest regardless of their age. This generation possibly best illustrates the adage “Age is just a number.” Retirement shouldn’t make them feel old and withered, but free, and with more money; that is one big challenge realtors and developers need to overcome.