The trend in active adult living
For today’s seniors, retirement is more active than ever. Between 2009 and 2015, the largest increase in the rental market came from Americans ages 55 and older, as baby boomers started leaving their dream homes behind in favor of active adult communities designed specifically for their needs. And these aren’t your grandparents’ retirement homes; they’re designed to cater to their occupants’ lives, complete with features such as single-story floor plans, lower kitchen counters, easy-to-use light switches, and smart appliances.
But the most important feature of these homes is the freedom they promote in the people that live in them—to create a lifestyle just as vibrant and exciting as the one that came before it.
“We wanted a place where we could make our own decisions and come and go as we pleased,” says Marian Dornell, 78. When Dornell retired from her nursing career eight years ago, she and her husband decided not to wait until poor health forced them out of the home they’d occupied together for 17 years. And rather than settling for a “warehouse-like” nursing home, they chose an active adult center on a sprawling 10-acre estate in central Pennsylvania, where the facility’s commitment to wellness and community has given them a chance to thrive. Ten thousand baby boomers turn 65 every day, and, like Dornell, many of them want the next phase of their life to be active and engaging.
“People put a lot of time and money into financial planning for retirement, but they downright neglect psychological planning for retirement. People need to find a reason to get up in the morning [and] be excited,” says Dr. Sara Yogev, author of the book “A Couple’s Guide to Healthy Retirement and Aging.”
To that end, Yogev believes “it is very, very important to continue being active”—a principle that the designers of active adult residences in the Washington, D.C., area have embraced. Take Ashburn, Va.-based builder Van Metre Homes, whose standard two-story townhouse features a large public space, a dedicated study, a first-floor master bedroom, and an elevator, and is centrally located in an active community core with shopping, dining, and physical activities like trails or a tennis court.
“The challenge is to create a space that can work for a person or couple who are probably downsizing, still working, but looking for a place and location that can also fit a retirement lifestyle,” says Christopher Fox, Vice President of Architecture at Van Metre Homes. “The goal of easily transitioning from work to play in the same place and location is the mix we are looking for.”
Many such communities are woven around walkable streets, bike paths and parks, allowing residents to stay fit simply by stepping outside to see their neighbors.
“Active living is an environment where everyone can be engaged in a physical activity—the best thing you can do for your health,” says Marcia Ory, a Texas A&M professor who spent two decades working in Bethesda, Md., at the National Institute on Aging. “These are communities that make it easy for people to be physically active.”
Blog Source: New Homes Guide | The next generation of active adult living