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Aging in Place: What Baby Boomers Want in New Homes


Ask a Baby Boomer to characterize themselves these days and chances are he or she will be quick to tell you not to label them a senior citizen, a retiree or – heaven forbid – elderly. Rather, terms such as “keenager” or “seasoned citizen” or even “sonic boomers” are more accurate descriptions of those born between 1946 and 1964. It’s impossible to generalize about this generation, as they are changing the perception of what it means to be today’s elders in society. Many work well beyond “retirement age” – whether by choice or necessity – and are more active socially and recreationally than the generations before them. These empty nesters have lived through recessions and are typically savvy consumers with an intelligent approach to buying. They have a mature vision for their future, and those looking to purchase a home are likely seeking features that will not only meet their wants and needs now but also down the road.

Whether they are looking simply to downsize or envision a long-term strategy for independent living without the retirement home scenario, the concept of “aging in place” is being embraced. Defined as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level” – this stay-at-home approach requires planning. There’s no one-size-fits-all design, but when it comes to homebuying with an eye to the future, everything from the floor plan and amenities to the community in which the house is built matters.

The folks at Southern Serenity Homes know that retirement homes or communities, condos and zero-lot homes – while appealing to many – should not be the only choices that Boomers have. Their choices should refelct their vibrancy while also meeting their long-term goals. We are reaching out to that population — one that knows and appreciates quality — with our portfolio of home plans that accommodate their present and future needs. Further, the ability and willingness to upgrade features and customize the build ensures that buyers are getting the low-maintenance, energy-efficient home that suits their lifestyle and adapts to meet the realities that come with aging.

Some design concepts to keep in mind, then, include:

— Floor plans on one level or with the master bedroom downstairs ensures there are not eventually places in one’s own home that can’t be accessed.
— Open floor plans and homes with smooth, flush floors make it easier to safely navigate the house with a walker or other mobility device.
— Doorways should be sufficiently wide to accommodate a wheelchair.
— Varied or adjustable counter heights and wall cabinetry and shelving at lower heights minimize reach, therefore minimizing falls.
— If grab-bars are not already in place near the toilet and bathtub, is blocking available to support their installation?
— Bigger windows allow in more light, a plus as vision becomes weaker.
— Flex/media/office space: because Boomers are active (workout and hobby space), tech-savvy and not necessarily retired.
— Community amenities and the development’s layout should facilitate the ability to interact with neighbors.

Baby Boomers are sophisticated buyers who know not only what they want, but what they need if they are to comfortably age in place. They want quality and options, independence and security in a sound investment. Helping them to attain these goals is not only something at which we excel; it is our privilege to see these goals made a reality.

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