Six trends are rocking intergenerational senior living, changing how operators deliver a lifestyle that is growing each day in popularity and product type. Last week, we looked at five of those trends, each of which are explored in deeper detail in the new Senior Housing News report, “The New Opportunity in Intergenerational Senior Living.”
The first five trends are:
- Embracing the tenets of New Urbanism
- Intergenerational is the new mixed-use
- Lifelong aging-in-place
- Building partnerships, even with competitors
- Urban senior living… in reverse
The sixth trend is the only one of the bunch that comes with any bit of controversy, but it’s one that some senior living operators are embracing with success: the power of affinity groups.
While creating senior communities rooted in values or customs based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, orientation or any other affinity group may seem controversial, antithetical to modern social norms or simply bad for business, it is an option that should be another tool in the operator’s tool box when pursuing intergenerational senior living.
“In my career, and in observatory research, not written research, Italians, Jews, Greeks — a lot of the European side — they tend to be a lot more comfortable with this kind of living situation,” Scott Eckstein told Senior Housing News.
Eckstein is a clinical assistant professor of the Institute for Senior Living at Washington State University, which trains students for careers in the sector.
“I think like-groups like to stay together,” he added. “We like to be multicultural, but the reality is that people (are) more comfortable with their own as they age, at least historically.”
Here are three methods in intergenerational senior living that operators can use to harness the power of affinity groups:
- Take cues from geography
- Seek to serve specific affinity groups, while welcoming others
- Use customs from multiple groups to build an inclusive lifestyle
Of course like any trend, there is no one-size-fits-all with regards to the marketability of or desire for affinity-based intergenerational senior living. One huge draw to intergenerational living is the community and cross-generational integration, yet for some seniors that is actually a drawback, hence the growing popularity of active adult.
Indeed, with the expanding racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S., where white people are projected to fall under 50% of the U.S. population by 2065, the coming generation of seniors will be more accustomed to multicultural lifestyles than any before it.
Still, affinity-based intergenerational senior living can be a successful element of senior living, and should be taken into account by operators as they plan projects.