Every day, about 10,000 Americans turn 65. The Baby Boomer generation has dominated consumerism since they were young—impacting the products the manufacturers developed and the way businesses marketed to this massive segment of shoppers. As they reach retirement age, Boomers are still having an impact, but now it relates to the range of products, services, and even the housing market for maturing citizens. This generation isn’t going to head for the nursing home. They want to maintain their independence. Their choice is “choose a home that will adapt to you as you age.”
Baby Boomers—the generation born between 1946 and 1964—is comprised of 78 million people, the largest generation until the Millennials topped this number, with 83.5 million born between 1980 and 1999. As Boomers reach this milestone, whether they actually retire or not, they’re looking at a lifestyle change. They want to stay in their homes as long as possible—rather than moving to a nursing home, assisted living, or with an adult son or daughter. An AARP study showed that 87 percent of seniors consider remaining in their homes and communities to be a top priority. With 78.5% of Baby Boomers owning a home, 15% more than the general population, they are committed to owning, not renting.
Aging in place allows them to live in a home that accommodates their changing needs. This concept relies on design that considers the special needs of a home’s residents, like those who are wheelchair-bound or have difficulty walking. Aging in place usually means a one-level home, to avoid stairs. The entries—from the front door to the shower—are zero-entry. Doors use levers instead of knobs because they’re easier to open from a wheelchair. Grab bars are installed near the commode and in the shower, for balance.
According to Phil Fankhauser, co-founder of Epcon Communities, which builds single-level homes and communities that can accommodate these needs. “Boomers want to buy a home that will allow them to live longer, later in life—in a home for the rest of their independent life.”
Some of these homeowners are investing in renovating their homes to adjust to the physical challenges of aging. Others are looking for a home that will enable them to live more freely than their current residence allows. Quite often, they’ll look for a home in their community. They want to stay close to family and friends, keep the same doctors and other services. They don’t want to start over, but they’re willing to make an essential move to retain their independent living.
Since 1986, Epcon Communities has built homes where people can experience aging in place, without sacrificing the comfort, convenience, and quality of life they had in their prior homes. In addition to the style and features these buyers want—such as a private courtyard, open floor plan, gourmet kitchens, and a spacious owner’s suite—Epcon Communities often include exterior maintenance, relieving the homeowners of this task. Over the years, the builder has expanded throughout the United States, with many homeowners embracing the high-quality, low-maintenance lifestyle.
“We’ve addressed a great variety of needs that appeal to Boomer buyers and we believe our architecture truly is visionary. It’s fun to live in, as well as meeting the expectations of the customers: no steps and no mower,” says Fankhauser.
He says the objective is to “right-size” their lives, which means choosing to live in a home that fits them—in size, location, and features.
Stay tuned to learn how Baby Boomers define the “right size” for their retirement years.