How Baby Boomers are Transforming Senior Living

Graphic with an older man on a surfboard with the text "Surfing the Silver Wave"

[Updated: August 31, 2023 | Published: August 31, 2023]

Over the past seven decades, baby boomers have made an indelible mark on American society. In their youth, those born between 1946 and 1964 in the postwar baby boom ignited a cultural revolution. Since then, they have driven trends for how we live, work and enjoy leisure time. So it’s not surprising they’re shaking up expectations about aging in the U.S. Or that their sheer numbers are accelerating demand for senior housing.

Group of happy Asian seniorsAs the youngest baby boomers reach age 65 in 2030, a demographic shift called the “silver wave” is approaching. An estimated 70 million retiring baby boomers will increase the need for senior housing coast to coast.

Because their preferences differ from those of earlier generations, however, they also are propelling demand for new approaches that support an active, independent and enriching lifestyle.

To prepare, senior living communities like Friendship Village of Dublin are creating innovative programs that appeal to independence-minded baby boomers. These include 55+ active aging communities like The Bailey at Bridge Park luxury 55+ rental community. Other approaches, like our Friendship At Home membership program, enable seniors to keep living in their own homes with continuing-care-at-home services.

Characteristics of the Silver Wave

Senior couple embracing with bicycles in the backgroundIn the 1970s, journalist Tom Wolfe famously described baby boomers as the “Me Generation.” Rooted in postwar prosperity and characterized by individualism and self-fulfillment, this generation has had an outsized impact on nearly every aspect of society.

Today, baby boomers are living longer, healthier lives. They prize independence and are confident in seeking what they want out of life.

Thanks to technological advances, people now enjoy better health and longer lifespans. The average lifespan increased steadily between 1950 and 2014. Men’s life expectancy rose from 65.6 to 71.1 years, while women’s rose from 76.1 to 81.1 years. This longer lifespan means baby boomers have more opportunities to stay active and enjoy their later years.

Wealthy older couple reading financial statements.They also are more educated and wealthier than previous generations. They built careers and businesses during the country’s most prosperous decades. As a result, they own over half the nation’s wealth, control nearly 70 percent of disposable income and own over 60 percent of all small businesses.

Many are accustomed to the luxuries that wealth commands. Most want to maintain a healthy, active and self-reliant lifestyle.

Baby boomers also are more likely to be solo agers. Twenty percent have no adult children. Others have kids who are estranged, disabled or live very far away. And an increasing number of couples are divorcing during their retirement years.

In 2023, the oldest baby boomers turned 77, entering the typical window for moving into an independent living community. At 59, many of the youngest are still working. But even those still in the workforce are moving into age-restricted communities where they can live worry-free in the company of their peers.

The Appeal of Active Adult Living

Group of seniors dressed up to go outAge-restricted active adult communities appeal to baby boomers with a lively, stimulating and independent retirement lifestyle.

For those in their 60s and 70s, active adult communities offer a low barrier to obtaining the benefits of senior living, including reducing loneliness and depression.

Traditional continuing care retirement communities like Friendship Village of Dublin occupy standalone campuses. They bundle living arrangements with activities, support services and healthcare. Residents enjoy a wide variety of on-campus services and amenities, including chef-prepared meals and housekeeping. With a LifeCare contract, Residents also gain peace of mind from guaranteed access to assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, rehabilitation and other services at a predictable cost.

Many baby boomers – especially those who haven’t left the workforce – aren’t interested in traditional retirement communities. At least not yet.

The Bailey at Bridge Park, a luxury 55+ rental community, will open in 2024.
The Bailey at Bridge Park, a luxury 55+ rental community, opens in 2024.

Instead, they are embracing age-restricted senior housing to experience a fulfilling retirement. These active adult communities prioritize lifestyle over future healthcare, providing upscale rental options that free older adults from the monotony of home maintenance while providing opportunities to socialize with like-minded peers.

According to McNight Senior Living, baby boomers want rental spaces that feel like home. They like open floor plans, fully equipped kitchens, washer/dryer combos, spacious closets, extra storage, and patios. They also want access to indoor and outdoor amenities encouraging socializing and shared activities.

One size does not fit all, or even most. Customizable living options have the highest appeal.

Safety and maintenance-free living are essential, but many baby boomers don’t need services like meals, laundry, transportation, or help with daily activities.

Some active adult communities are integrated into multi-use, multi-generational communities. For example, the Bailey at Bridge Park will be integrated into the Bridge Park neighborhood, which combines upscale residential living with unique dining, shopping and other attractions in downtown Dublin, Ohio, named Ohio’s best small city.

Aging at Home Services Cater to Independent Baby Boomers

Senior man cooking while watching cooking video on laptop.While some baby boomers want to move to active adult communities, others prefer to keep living in the comfort of their own homes. In fact, a 2022 University of Michigan survey found that nearly nine in 10 adults between 50 and 80 want to age at home as long as possible.

Aging-at-home services provide the support seniors need to maintain their independence while offering protection from the rising costs of future care. Like active adult communities, they also provide a pathway to the benefits of senior living without joining a senior living community.

For example, our Friendship At Home membership program offers an affordable alternative to long-term-care insurance. Designed for healthy, active adults 62 and over who live in central Ohio, this innovative program protects members’ health and financial future.

If needed, members can receive up to full assisted living and nursing home care in the comfort of their own homes. Professional care coordinators handle all the details, relieving family members and friends of the burden of care coordination.

More Senior Living Choices than Ever

By embracing the concept of active aging, baby boomers are reshaping the landscape of senior living, creating a future where they can thrive in retirement.

At Friendship Village of Dublin, we can help you find your place to thrive. No matter what your stage in life — whether you’re looking for a luxury apartment in an active aging community, an independent living apartment in a senior living community, or want to achieve peace of mind while living in your own home — we have a plan for you.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you plan for a healthy and independent retirement on your terms. Call 614-426-0334 to speak with a Senior Living Expert, or use the form below to schedule a visit to our scenic, resort-style community along the Scioto River in Dublin.

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