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Housing for the aging population is outdated: How can developers meet the growing needs?
By: Mark Borushko, VP of Land Development
Did you know that people over 65 are set to outnumber youth under 18 for the first time in US history due the aging of the baby boomer generation? This means one in five Americans will be over 65 by 2040. The statistics are incredible. This reality begs the question: as the baby boomer generation continues to age and the number gets larger, is there appropriate housing to meet the need?
In short, the answer is no. My team and I have identified this reality as we look to the future of housing needs. As it stands right now, housing for aging populations is arguably outdated. Be it the layout and design or the amenities needed, current housing simply does not contain what today’s aging population is looking for. This is an important niche market to dive into as population demographics evolve.
Housing needed for the baby boomer generation
Overall, the baby boomer generation is healthier, more active, and often has the desire to continue working into their later years. Today, the demand for amenities focused on wellness stands in stark contrast to the demands in place when communities were built 20 to 30 years ago. Today’s aging population is looking for home offices so they can continue to work, gourmet kitchens, more options for physical activity throughout the community, and convenient roadways as they continue to drive. They’re looking for wine clubs, pickleball courts, dog parks – in other words, a more active lifestyle.
These are exciting communities that are looking toward the future, but the planning and project development needs to happen today. If developers are expecting to meet the demands of tomorrow’s senior and active adult population, they need to be working with a firm that offers a full suite of services that can launch now, move quickly, and help meet the unique demands of a rapidly aging population.
How Atwell supports residential needs of our aging population
Our team has been working with clients to identify needs and meet demand with speed-to-market and program management services. A typical company that specializes in senior housing generally has a development staff that may be able to build one or two communities a year. When a client establishes a relationship with Atwell, we can help them double or even triple that output per year. Because of the breadth of our services as well as our expanding presence across the country, Atwell can complete multiple projects in more than one state.
We’re able to provide full-service program management as a unique service to our clients. These capabilities allow us to serve as the design, development, and construction team to do the heavy lifting for developers across projects, regions, and markets – often in geographies where our senior living development clients do not have sufficient staff. We can act as the facilitator and sole point-of-contact to ensure speed-to-market throughout.
Planning for the future
The bottom line is that it’s not a matter of if, but when, new senior housing communities will be needed.
Despite the awareness of housing needed and the speed at which projects must be completed to meet current and future demand, this market still faces challenges. Some of these challenges are the same we’re all facing in our daily lives: inflation is pushing construction prices up; rising interest rates are making borrowing more difficult and costly for consumers; land prices continue to go up; and labor shortages are a chronic problem.
Regardless of the challenges, the demand for housing and well-designed communities for an aging population here in the US will continue to grow rapidly. And like all the geographies and real estate markets we serve, our team is well-positioned in the senior living space to offer our clients the suite of services they can depend on to allow them to grow and meet this demand.