What Tomorrow’s Retirees Want in a Life Plan Community

What Tomorrow’s Retirees Want
in a Life Plan Community

People are living longer, healthier lives and expecting more from their golden years than ever before. In response, Life Plan Communities like Paradise Valley Estates are relying on research to prepare for continued growth.

According to Ziegler Investment Banking, the national leader in senior living financing, U.S. Census data report the fastest growing age group in the United States is 100 years and older. Average life expectancy is increasing steadily—from age 74 for men and 80 for women in 2000, to 77 and 82 projected in 20201. In California, there’s a projected population growth rate of 122 percent for people age 65 and older, and 174 percent for age 85 and older by 2040.2 That adds up to more than 10 million and 1.5 million people, respectively.

Mary Muñoz is the managing director of senior living at Ziegler. “Now and in the future, these demographics will influence the services and amenities that Life Plan Communities provide,” says Muñoz. “Younger incoming residents want more choice, more transparency, and more input into the decisions being made around the community. Providers who wish to be successful in the future will need to thoroughly understand evolving consumer wants and needs.”

So what is the next generation looking for in a Life Plan Community?

Trustworthy Providers, Affordable Amenities and Comprehensive Care

Provider reputation, cost and value, and availability of onsite healthcare top the list of consumer preferences when choosing a Life Plan Community. 3

Top requested services include entertainment programming, wellness and fitness programming, and personal trainers. In terms of amenities, top preferences include fitness centers, outdoor walking or biking paths, an emergency call system, WiFi connectivity, patios or balconies, and garages or covered parking.

“These findings reflect what we’ve heard from residents and their family members, and will continue to inform our community development strategy in the future,” says Jane Walker, director of sales and marketing at Paradise Valley Estates. “It will always be our goal to provide world-class retirement living along with supportive care services, should those needs arise.”

Opportunities to Age Well

Compared to a single-family home, living in a Life Plan Community provides more opportunities to meet new people, learn new things, and pursue new interests—in short, to age well.

The majority of survey respondents ranked personal safety and security as the greatest benefit of a Life Plan Community lifestyle, followed by socialization, aging in place, and convenience. Seven in ten respondents indicated increased opportunities for staying fit, lifelong learning, choices and options in life, and eating well.

“Quality of life and a comprehensive approach to wellness are important to members of the Boomer generation, as well as to those who will follow them,” says Walker. “Physically and mentally, many people are working harder to stay active longer. We expect that trend to continue as advances in healthcare and technology increase, and look forward to welcoming many new members to Paradise Valley Estates.”    

1 U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (Dec. 2010)
2 Graying in the Golden State, Public Policy Institute of California (Nov. 2000)
3 The National Survey of Family Members of Residents Living in CCRCs (2011).