Baby boomers and retirement : how will this landmark generation redefine retir[e]ment community design?
With the first of the 77 million (www.census.gov) Baby Boomers turning 60 this year, the impact on retirement and retirement communities has suddenly become a vital and pressing issue. The massive numbers of Baby Boomer cohorts have amplified and intensified the importance of whatever experiences they've had at each new moment in their lives. When they reach any stage of life, the issues that concern them — whether financial, interpersonal, or even hormonal — become the dominant social political, and marketplace themes at the time. (www.agewave.com 2006) Retirement will be no different. Using this understanding of the Baby Boomer generation, this study examined their impact on retirement community design.Data specific to Baby Boomer retirement preferences was analyzed, an expert in the field of gerontology at Ball State University was interviewed, research was completed in retirement community design and age related health concerns, and case studies in a range of established retirement communities in southwest Florida were visited, all in an effort to determine what the current trends are in the retirement community market today and how Boomers would effect them.Research showed that Boomers want to pursue new and exciting experiences in their retirement years. They are not willing to settle for a retirement tucked out of the way, out of sight out of mind. They want to be in the middle of activity and enjoyment. They are looking to make a difference and have an impact in this next phase of life.The result of these endeavors is a conceptual design for an active adult retirement community, in northeast Lee County Florida, that will attract Baby Boomers by appealing to their sense of fun, their sense of purpose and their social and environmental conscience.