Boomers demand village facelifts

Boomers demand village facelifts

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IT'S BOOM TIME: Baby Boomers are set to revolutionise aged care by banging down the doors of change.

IT'S BOOM TIME: Baby Boomers are set to revolutionise aged care by banging down the doors of change.

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The protest generation of the 1960s are back - this time protesting the way they age and where and how they live. Baby Boomers are working longer, retiring la...

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The protest generation of the 1960s are back - this time protesting the way they age and where and how they live.

Baby Boomers are working longer, retiring later and declaring they want to live on their own in keeping with their declaration for freedom, individuality, togetherness and community that was prominent during the flower power era.

The RSL LifeCare says Baby Boomers are set to revolutionise the multi-billion dollar communal retirement villages sector in 2022, rejecting comfort for convenience.

Baby Boomers want to swap contentment for independence as they shift from large kitchens and backyards to smaller kitchens, patios and double car lock-up garages, prioritising security so residents can readily lock up the home and travel.

Lawn bowls are out. Swimming pools and cafes are in.

Large backyards are out, while low maintenance courtyards are in.

Baby Boomers want to be able to go travelling without the worry of coming back to a home that is overgrown.

There are plenty of other practical differences too.

According to RSL LifeCare's second annual Baby Boomers research, the generation aged 56-74 is moving away from traditional low-density dwellings and demanding serviced apartments or integrated villages with the latest technology, a home office, swimming pool with an on-site cafe and a double lock-up garage with a charging station.

Not like parents

The organisation's chief executive Graham Millett said Baby Boomers don't want to age like their parents or grandparents.

They are ageing on their terms and that includes retirement homes.

"Increasingly, we're hearing Baby Boomers are after innovative homes that make their lives easier," Mr Millett said.

"That includes smart home features with added security allowing residents to lock up and travel around Australia or abroad.

"As Baby Boomers age, do they intend to do so gracefully, adhering to customs and activities of previous generations, or will they demand a new way?

"Our research shows a remarkable 40 per cent of Baby Boomers are still working, an extraordinary 61 per cent expect to fund their own retirement and a mere 7 per cent are currently drawing on any formal aged care support, making them a resilient and independent generation, consistent with their rebellious youth."

The survey shows they want independence, travel and high-quality food.

About 184,000 Australians currently live in retirement villages, with an average tenure of 7.3 years.

New wave

With 5.2 million Baby Boomers, or 24 per cent of the country's population, a new wave of customers is likely to demand fundamental change to suit their different tastes.

"Retirement villages need a facelift in the next five years," Mr Millett said.

"Baby Boomers' parents were content with big kitchens and backyards for entertainment, but today it's all about the lifestyle and convenience.

"This means pools with cafes, charging stations for the electric vehicles, social activities on site."

Mr Millett said RSL LifeCare is working on new retirement village concepts to meet that demand.

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