The senior population in the United States is growing. By 2030, those over the age of 65 will represent 20% of the U.S. population – over 71 million people. Growing with them are the number of lifestyle options designed to help older adults flourish in later life – and many of them center around the word: luxury.
You’ll now find senior communities featuring gastropubs, wellness spas, pickleball courts, and chauffeured transportation. For older adults living at home, some caregivers promise VIP home healthcare; and architects with specialized training can remodel your house to meet the unique needs of seniors.
Examining some of the lifestyle options across senior living can help unpack the term luxury and put you on a path toward a later life enjoyed on your own terms.
Aging in Place - Achieving Longevity at Home
For some seniors, the choice to age in place in a beloved and familiar family home is a preferred option. But since most houses are not built to address the needs that arise with age, longevity at home requires some investment, planning, and often some help from experts to achieve.
Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS) are an increasingly popular resource who can help modify a home environment for better senior safety. This designation was created by the AARP and the National Association of Home Builders and is given to remodelers, designers, architects, and occupational therapists who’ve completed extensive training in home safety for older adults.
Some common household modifications include widening doorways, installing safety bars and doors with lever handles, and even adding elevators to multi-story homes.
In addition to safer home design, meeting your long-term care needs is vital. Home health aides are a valuable resource who can assist with bathing, dressing, small household tasks, and even medical care for some conditions. Knowing precisely what level of care a home health aide can and cannot provide is an important consideration when making your long-term plans.
One potential disadvantage to aging in place is isolation. Studies show that isolation at home can have negative impacts on seniors and is commonly associated with stress and depression. Even more recently, Johns Hopkins researchers found that socially isolated older adults experience a greater risk of developing dementia than their socially connected counterparts.
Successful aging at home should include plans for the daily support, connections, and transportation necessary to maintain a socially-active life.
If you are one who finds that no luxury compares to that of your current home, you can make it a forever-home with planning, design, and foresight.
Luxury Retirement Communities – Neighborhoods Designed with Seniors in Mind
When many imagine a retirement community, they picture a bustling condominium complex in a warm climate like Florida or Arizona. Retirement communities have evolved, however, and now exist throughout the country and encompass a wide variety of housing choices that includes apartments, townhouses, and even single-family houses.
While no two are exactly alike, retirement communities are commonly designed for older adults living independently. Most communities set the minimum age for joining at 65+, but others cater to 50-55-year-old age range.
Luxury retirement communities often offer amenities like those found in high-quality hotels and including swimming pools and fitness centers. Many even cater to the unique hobbies and interests of a specific group – you can find retirement communities designed for boating enthusiasts, retired artists, and even those linked to colleges and universities that cater to aging alumni.
Though some retirement communities offer assisted living services, many do not. If you are looking for a home where you can access additional levels of care in the future, it’s important to know the exact level of care a retirement community can and cannot provide.
Retirement communities are often governed by Homeowner Associations (HOAs) which require a monthly fee and have rules for the community that can sometimes be restrictive. A careful read of the HOA handbook can help determine if a retirement community and its HOA are a good fit for you.
CCRCs – For an All-Inclusive, Campus Lifestyle
If you want to maintain an independent lifestyle, but also want to prepare for any changes in your care needs down the road, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) present an intriguing, and often luxurious, option.
Sometimes referred to as a life plan community, a CCRC is a “small town”, a place where older adults have access to multiple levels of care on a single campus. Most residents enter a CCRC while living a fully independent lifestyle, but if your health status changes in the future, a more advanced tier of care is available in a different location on the same grounds.
There are over 2,000 CCRCs operating across the United States in a wide range of settings. Luxury CCRCs offer restaurants, fitness centers, libraries, movie theaters, and a bustling social calendar. These campuses can be large, 100+ acres even, and residents have access to shuttles and buses to explore all the happenings in the community.
Most CCRCs require a large, upfront financial commitment – $320,000 on average, nationally – as well as a monthly fee to cover the costs of meals, transportation, housing, and maintenance. Because of the complexities involved, speaking to a financial advisor can help you decide if this unique commitment is right for you.
Senior Living Communities – For a Social, Connected Urban Lifestyle
In the heart of prime, 24-hour cities a growing number of luxury senior living communities are helping older adults enjoy a sophisticated lifestyle while staying connected to the neighborhoods they love.
Gone are the days when secluded gated communities are considered the hallmark of luxury. Recent studies show older adults have an increasingly strong preference for dense, dynamic, and safe walkable neighborhoods.
With locations in New York City and San Francisco, Coterie Senior Living is one such community keeping residents close to their favorite restaurants, shopping, and the arts, while also boasting an elevated lifestyle within its walls. Coterie features multiple dining venues with inspired, chef-driven cuisine and a sommelier-led wine program.
Coterie residents enjoy heightened amenities like a private fitness center, a cutting-edge cinema, spa treatment room, and a stylish on-site salon. As the most social model in the industry, luxury senior living communities take the concept to new heights with elevated programs and a dynamic calendar of events. Coterie hosts live music performances four nights a week, presents esteemed guest lectures, and offers group fitness classes and a number of wellness services daily.
One of the benefits of this style of senior living is that your care needs can be met at the precise level you need them – now and in the future. If you live a fully independent lifestyle, you can enjoy all the fine amenities of these luxury senior living communities and explore the nearby cultural events and attractions from a centrally-located neighborhood.
But if you need extra support, assisted living services in a luxury senior living community are tailored to your needs. These services can include help getting dressed, medication assistance, and escorts to and from meals. Coterie, for instance, offers tailored care plans for each individual, and residents even enjoy membership to an onsite ER for medical concierge care just outside their doors.
Memory care within a luxury senior living community can provide enhanced services and a safe and secure living environment for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Families facing the challenges of these conditions can have confidence in the specialized dining programs, highly-trained caregivers, and thoughtfully-designed spaces that lead to better outcomes, and a better quality of life.
Overview of Senior Living Options
To find the senior living setting that’s right for you and your family, quickly categorizing the options can keep the choices from becoming overwhelming. To recap the types of senior living investigated above and the luxuries they embody:
- Aging in-Place – A popular choice for those who enjoy the familiarity and comfort of home, and who are committed to transitioning that home into a safe and socially-connected living environment.
- Retirement Communities – A broad category of neighborhoods and HOAs where older adults, mostly independent, can enjoy amenities and services designed for seniors in the company of likeminded peers.
- Luxury CCRCs – A unique type of retirement community where residents can access an additional level of care on the same campus should their health status change. An all-inclusive lifestyle carries a sizeable upfront financial commitment.
- Luxury Senior Living Communities – Often set in dynamic urban centers, these communities keep residents connected to the neighborhoods they love, while offering an elevated lifestyle with options for independent living, assisted living, and memory care.
Whatever your personal definition of luxury, it’s important to envision what you want your later years to look like. With greater self-knowledge and awareness of all the options available, you’ll be better prepared to choose a setting that aligns with your lifestyle, where you can fill your future with purposely chosen luxury.