Wikipedia defines Baby Boomers as the group of seventy-six million American children who were born between 1945 and 1974. “As a group [they are] the wealthiest, most active and physically fit generation up to that time. They control 80 percent of all personal financial assets, more than half of consumer spending and 80 percent of all leisure travel.”
What does this mean for housing trends sought after by the Baby Boomer generation? In general, Baby Boomers have the money to improve their present home, to down size or go into an active living facility or assisted living facility. Most Boomers do not want to spend all of their assets on housing as they like to participate in sports and entertainment, traveling to see their children and grandchildren or traveling for leisure. Here is a look into “aging in place.”
For the majority of Boomers, aging in place means remaining in the home they have occupied for years – it may even be where their children grew up. The advantage in remaining in their present home is that many have paid off their mortgage. Although these homes may be paid off, sometimes there are improvements to the home that should be anticipated and completed before they are needed. These might include widening doors so that they are walker or wheel chair accessible, adding grab bars where needed and leveling shower entries.
Another trend for aging in place is to buy new in order to down size into a smaller home and yard. Many new homes offer more desirable floor plans, and already have the needed improvements in place. Some communities even provide complete lawn care, leaving residents free to travel without the worry of lawn upkeep, or the appearance of an unoccupied home. Advantages of buying new are the savings on utilities, avoiding renovation hassles, new amenities and more desirable floor plans for Boomers.
A third option for aging in place could be an Active Living Community, where every day needs are met, including housekeeping, meals, community activities and entertainment transportation. Most communities make it a simple process for Boomers to make the transition to assisted living, and even provide skilled nursing within the community.
Now that we’ve examined three housing options available to Boomers, the final step is making the choice that’s best for the Boomer and his or her personal lifestyle. No matter what decision a Baby Boomer makes regarding housing, it should be decided upon before needed. Waiting until it is mandatory to make changes in housing causes much stress, and often times, more financial outlay.