The coming of age of the boomer generation has created more options in senior living than has ever existed before. Reimagining senior housing was viewed as one of the most important topics in the field this year. The focus is now on redesign and adaptation to the changing tastes and needs of this population. Complaints seniors had in the past about housing designed for them are now history as developers compete to give us the best designs, services and amenities possible. Many of the old beliefs about senior housing just don’t hold water any more. Depending, of course, on the particulars of your community, here is how to respond to a few classic objections.
The population in senior developments is not diverse.
That may have been true in the past but things have changed. While the majority of persons in senior developments will be older, most of these facilities now have a ratio age-wise that allows a percentage of under fifty-five folks to own homes in the community too. It is also possible in many cases to have younger people, (relatives or not) to reside with you in your own home.
I will miss my neighbors.
New owners may miss their neighbors but they certainly won’t be lonely. Newer communities are built for social interaction, often with restaurants, cafes or bars. Ongoing local social events and activities are part of the scene. They will have a ready-made group of potential friends of their age, with much in common. Have them visit your community and stop and talk with residents there. For the most part, residents are friendlier because they are all part of one inclusive social group.
It is more expensive than living at home.
Even if your potential clients have no mortgage, homeownership is still costly. Consider insurance, taxes, upkeep and repairs, utilities, emergency expenses, etc. At a senior living community, everything is included in one predictable payment with no surprises.
Having to hire people to do the things they can’t do anymore gets expensive quickly for mature populations. In their own home, they may be eaten alive by minor repairs and sudden big expenses like a new roof or air conditioning system. Point out that things change as people age and aging in place may become more expensive as they get older, with renovations such as walk-in baths, ramps, and other home modifications.
In senior developments, housekeeping services and care support are generally available nearby and less expensive. You can make the case that having entertainment, exercise facilities, social events in the neighborhood means less driving, less gas, less Ubers. Residents can also save on athletic club memberships and fitness classes as most senior facilities include these.
Ask your buyers to sit down and review their last years expenses for repairs, painting, gutters, leaves, snow removal, water leaks, etc. They may be surprised by what staying in their home is actually costing them.
I won’t be able to engage in my hobbies and activities there.
There is no reason that buyers cannot continue with previous sports and hobbies in their new location. Senior communities generally now include a gym and fitness area with classes, often swimming pools and Jacuzzis, tennis and pickleball courts, some even have their own adjacent golf course that they can walk to. The clubhouse may offer classes in art or photography or crafts. Depending on the nature of the community, it’s often possible to have your own garden or share in a community garden. The truth is that residents will actually have many more convenient and lower (or no cost) activities right in their own back yard.
I should wait to move until I absolutely have to.
This is a struggle for many who love their homes and are reluctant to leave them, But, you can show them there are many reasons to make the move sooner rather than later. It pays to make a move when you are not under pressure. If they are selling a house, they need to take the time to get the best price for their home, look at many options for a new residence and have the ability to make a good choice. They may even want to wait for a vacancy within your top choice of communities.
If they wait until they are forced to move due to lack of physical ability from accident or illness, they will have a much harder time getting rid of their household items, choosing and packing what they want to keep and looking at possible locations. While they are in good health, they will have far greater control of where they will move and how easy or difficult that move will be. If they wait, it may also create a burden on family members when they have to scramble to help seniors scale down, pack and move.
The market for senior housing is dynamic and changing all the time. Your potential residents need to see the realities of new senior housing and not be held back by outdated concepts.