Welcoming the Independent Senior Citizen

Part 2 in the BINGO for Seniors Series

Independent Senior

Independent is one of many characteristics included in the description of the current population fitting the definition of Senior Citizen.  I started my career in multi-family housing at a location developed for seniors.  The lifestyle experienced by seniors today is strikingly different than the people who lived in my communities.

Second in the BINGO series, discussion using the “I” in Bingo, will reflect on the Independent nature of individuals in the “62 Years or Better” demographic.  The B in Bingo focused on a lifestyle for Seniors that is Better Than, ever experienced in the past.

Designed For A Different Lifestyle

Much of the current physical inventory structures of senior housing were developed thirty to forty years ago.  The population serviced at that time benefited from a community atmosphere that could replace their neighborhoods.   It would also be provide the benefits of easy, convenient medical resources.  It many cases it evolved into a self contained life style within the building.  However, many of the active seniors today are reluctant to move to these apartment homes.  A perception of these apartment homes with a nursing home, extended care type of environment discourages individuals who might actually benefit from the properties offering different programs with rent based incomes.

Whether being identified by an age of 62 or 55 this demographic of our population are Independent.  And the emphasis of recognizing the individual characteristics is no less important than ever.   At no point in time does some one want to experience a leasing presentation that is based on a series of assumptions that don’t apply to them.  All seniors are not alike.  And as I’ve heard from many managers and leasing teams, “the people who live here aren’t like my grandparents.”  Be that a positive or negative observation.

The energetic independent individual’s that age qualify for senior status today are significantly different in all aspects of life.

Career Minded

With the current social security retirement age of 67.  Today’s independent senior citizen is an active portion of today’s work force.  They’re working forty plus hours a week.  There are  no immediate plans for retirement.  Not only for financial reasons, but at this point in their life, they’re actively enjoying a career.

These individuals are comfortable with an apartment that is their home base.  Convenient with its location and easy to care for.  But their entire day to day life style is not going to be contained within the walls of their apartment, or the building where they live.

independent senior citizen

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

Another feature, is the independent senior citizen continuing to be active drivers.  They own vehicles, will continue to own the vehicle.  If the community is located in a market that is not dominated by public transportation, subways, trains or bus service-increased parking will be a growing concern.  Developers forty years ago didn’t anticipate this change.  Properties were designed believing at most seniors won’t continue to use vehicles daily.  This has changed and resulted in limited parking for many senior developments.

Focus on Convenience

This individual has made their own decision to move to a home that is more convenient for them.  Not a choice solely forced by being unable to live on their own, or unable to care for a home.  Instead, they want the freedom to travel, and less demands on their time..and finances to continue to maintain a home that might be more space than needed.

This population of seniors not only will live in communities dedicated to seniors, but are every bit as likely to live anywhere….and may avoid housing designated for seniors because of the perception that they are looking to be part of a senior citizen center, or a nursing home environment.  Being prepared to describe the advantages of apartment living with all aspects of maintenance and curb appeal included in the rental price can emphasize how an apartment has advantages over single family homes.

The advantage offered in a community designated for seniors, is an element of control of the general population being “like-aged” individuals possibly limiting the exposure to young families that may or may not be the choice for neighbors.

Marketing materials, locations of advertising, social events even the explanation of features and benefits of the apartment have adjusted with the mindset and lifestyle.

 

 

Lori Hammond
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