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Active Baby Boomers are redefining retirement communities

Photo by Jeremy Logan
Photo by Jeremy Logan

The Baby Boomers were never big into doing things the same way their parents did. And now that they’re reaching retirement age, they’re continuing to challenge the status quo—especially when it comes to what they expect in their communities.

Many of the Boomers entering their 50s, 60s, and 70s are still active and healthy, and they’re steering away from the isolated retirement communities of their parents. Instead they’re looking for developments that will allow them to remain independent, healthy, and engaged with their neighbors.

According to predictions by the National Association of Home Builders, more than 45% of all households in the United States will be headed by someone 55 or older by the year 2019. As empty-nesters and new retirees decide to downsize or move to a better location, they’ll be looking for flexible, senior-friendly communities—a great opportunity for home builders to create housing developments tailored to their needs.

Here are some of the new building trends for Boomers:

Accessible design

More homes are being built with accessibility in mind—step-in showers, doorways wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, and one-story floor plans that eliminate stairways. Other innovations include raised flowerbeds so that homeowners can continue to garden without having to strain their backs.

These accommodations are useful for people of any ability, and also help homeowners avoid additional stress (and the need to relocate!) if their mobility needs change.

Flexible care options

Speaking of changing needs—many Baby Boomers don’t need assisted living care when they first move into their homes. But if in time they need a little more help or have medical issues, having to deal with the stress of relocating on top of everything else can be a big challenge.

That’s why the Community Care Retirement option is becoming more popular—it allows homeowners the option of adding care as they grow with their home. Homeowners can live independently in their own houses or condominiums for as long as they want to. If they need more care later on, they can smoothly transition to assisted living or nursing care while remaining in the home they love.

Amenities for wellness and engagement

baby boomer home designMany of today’s seniors are still active, and they intend to stay that way. Developments designed for Boomers often include nature trails, workout classes, and exercise facilities. Others may even have on-staff nutritionists, lifestyle directors, and massage therapists!

These communities also include amenities that encourage social interaction, such as swimming pools, recreation centers, tennis courts, regular community events, and organizations for those who enjoy participating in games, music, or line dancing. Many developments are also conveniently located near restaurants and shops, and some provide shuttle services to local attractions and religious services.

And many communities are built so that they’re close to local universities, so residents can further enrich their lives by take advantage of college courses and cultural events.


The Baby Boomer generation has pioneered change over the decades, and now they’re redefining what it looks like to retire, too. Home builders are taking their cues from these active seniors, resulting in better, more vibrant communities.



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