Although many people are under the impression people begin to slow down after they retire, there is a new trend of younger, active seniors that are disproving all of these stereotypes. As the needs and wants of this group change, so should the housing that is designed for them. Take a look at how the physically active and vibrant group of seniors is affecting amenity options and design decisions – they have high-expectations and are looking to continue a lifestyle of Lux-living…just in a smaller, easier to manage home.
Younger seniors are drawn to living facilities with LUX living….that allow them to enjoy the great outdoors, so nature must be incorporated into both the design of individual units and the community amenities. Communities should have outdoor walking trails that wind through the scenic surroundings so residents can stroll through nature when they need some fresh air. There should also be outdoor gathering spaces with plenty of comfortable seating centered around a grill, outdoor kitchen, or fire pit. This allows them to relax and experience nature even when they’re not in the mood to be physically active.
But, you shouldn’t have to walk outside in order to experience the outdoors. Natural materials such as wood should be used to warm up interior spaces and make seniors feel more connected to the outdoors. Designers should consider using it both on the floor and as ceiling beams. Windows in each unit should be large and directed at a flower garden or cluster of majestic trees.
A lot has been said about how the Millennial home buyers and renters are on the hunt for greener living spaces, but the same can be said about baby-boomers and active seniors. Perhaps inspired by their love of nature, seniors are becoming more curious and willing to take an interest in sustainable living. In fact, many senior living facilities are beginning to use sustainable features as a main selling point when attracting prospective tenants.
What green features are seniors looking for? Think Energy Star appliances, sustainable wood and other building materials, and energy efficient lighting. Design the layout of each unit to allow natural light into the space so seniors don’t have to rely on electric lighting. Make sure you promote these features when trying to attract new residents, and explain how they benefit the environment so seniors don’t have to make the connection on their own. Incorporating these features into your senior living facility will help tenants feel like they are living in forward-thinking, eco-friendly community.
FOCUS ON WELLNESS
Becoming more interested in health and wellness, and they now want a community that allows them to enjoy this active lifestyle. Instead of offering residents a standard gym, offer them group fitness classes where they can meet other people in the community and try new workouts. Communities should also consider inviting a personal trainer or wellness coach into the facility for a certain number of days every month. This gives residents the chance to meet one-on-one with someone who can help them achieve their health and wellness goals without the facility having to pay for a full-time staff member.
This age group is very comfortable with technology, so living facilities should make an effort to become more tech-friendly. Wi-Fi should be available throughout the facility so seniors can connect to the network wherever they may be on the property. Lights, blinds, and the thermostat inside their units should be remote-controlled so they can conveniently adjust the lighting or temperature with a little help from technology. Interior designers should also think about including charging stations for smartphones and tablets in the gathering areas so seniors can charge their devices without having to return to their home. Some facilities have even started to use keyless entry so seniors just have to swipe a card or key fob in order to get inside their unit.
Sophisticated technology is a must. Technology makes life easier and more enjoyable while our more active seniors enjoy things like travel, fine-dining and community engagement.
FEELS LIKE HOME
They don’t want to give up the comfort of feeling like they’re at their past home….most likely, a luxury, high-end style with plenty of space and bells-and-whistles. So it’s imperative that their down-size or right-size venture hits all their desires. These extra amenities make seniors feel as if they didn’t sacrifice any of the luxuries they enjoyed at home by moving into a new, sometimes, smaller space.
To satisfy this need, interior designers have to focus on fitting all of these features into a unit without it feeling cramped. But, they also don’t want to feel like they’re living in a space that is too big for them and their belongings. It’s difficult, but interior designers have to be able to find a balance that appeals to seniors. If you are able to offer seniors all of these amenities within their own living space, they will be even more attracted to your community.
The needs of seniors are ever changing, and interior designers must remain flexible in order to create beautiful living spaces that appeal to this generation. The first step in doing so is forgetting about all of the stereotypes that negatively portray seniors. People in this age group are no longer sitting back and watching life go by, but rather jumping right into the action and making the most out of every moment.