Although most Boomers will be retired five years from now, many seem reluctant to consider retirement communities in their plans. Only one in five Boomers wants to relocate to senior-related housing or an active-adult community, according to a survey by the Demand Institute Housing & Community.
The survey asked more than 4,000 Baby Boomer households (50- to 69-year-olds) about their current living situations, moving intentions and housing preferences. Most plan to age in place: 63% do not plan to move from their homes.
The majority of prospective age-in-placers also feel that their current homes are places they can remain in as they get older in spite of the fact that many of these homes are not single-story and do not offer low-maintenance and accessibility features.
This means that the senior living industry faces a challenge in winning over the next generation of retirees. The industry must combat the Boomer view of senior living communities as places for people with serious health issues, who can’t take care of themselves and need medical attention. The mindset is: “I’m too young to live in a place like this.”
To change this perception, senior living leaders are looking at rebranding the industry by creating a new name for communities that offer a full continuum of care. The current, 35-year-old term, Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), places the emphasis squarely on "care" and "retirement,” two words that don’t resonate with Boomers.
To look at an alternative name for CCRCs, a national study is being conducted through a joint partnership created by LeadingAge and Mather LifeWays.
In this study, a task force is researching perceptions of the label “Continuing Care Retirement Community” and investigating alternative wording that would describe our communities more accurately — and appealingly. We are on the NameStorm task force, along with LeadingAge, Mather LifeWays, GlynnDevins, SB&A, Brooks Adams Research and Love & Co.
In the NameStorm study, quantitative and qualitative research is being conducted across the country with CCRC residents, prospects and staff as well as the community at large.
So far, it seems that people are excited about the possibility of a name change, but it’s a change that needs to be carefully considered. Will a CCRC by any other name smell as sweet? Stay tuned for future developments.