The New Hospitality: Senior Living Communities
By David Ashen Principal & Founder, dash design | August 11, 2019
Two years ago, I was in Scottsdale for a project and was visiting with a good friend who lives there. She asked if I would stop by her mother's senior living community. I had heard for years about this place and was lectured by my friend on how I should be working in this category (but I was not sure I understood why).
Well, we drove up to what must be the most exclusive, if not most expensive, senior community in the area, and, when we walked in, I understood why. That upscale housing community felt like we had walked into the world of hospitality circa 1985, when luxury had one look and was only addressing one set of tastes.
Today's aging community will shortly be composed entirely of Baby Boomers, a population that came into adulthood in the 1960s and 1970s, decades some might argue were enlightened ages of freedom regarding race, sexuality, drugs and thought. This generation had many more choices and therefore was not boxed into what was expected of them. It was the end of the "Leave it to Beaver" age and the world of lifestyle and design was opening up and becoming more colorful. Boomers represent an enormous amount of wealth; are more active into their golden years; and are more educated then the generation before them. As they say, 70 is the new 50!
Is it no wonder that the old Ritz Carlton, circa 1990, is not where these folks want to retire to. Like many of us, they want choices that represent their range of interests and preferences, and ones that help them engage in a very active lifestyle.
The future is here and senior housing developers are keen on answering the need before them. What does that look like? New communities – primarily in the independent and assisted living categories – are looking to luxury lifestyle hotels as inspiration, as places that set the bar for where they would like to be. A revolution is underway and the cookie cutter idea of luxury is falling away to reveal properties that are more dynamic.
Location, Location, Location