Manny Gonzalez – What Boomers are Looking for in 2015: Part 3 of 3


April 2, 2015

To learn more, join us at the Design conference track at PCBC on Thursday, 6/25, 2015 at 11:00 am and hear Manny Gonzalez present in the session, “Age Qualified Communities – Reimagined”

This is my final installment in my three-part series about lifestyle trends that are emerging for the 88 million Baby Boomers (including me).  To read Part 1, click here and Part 2, click here.

Fitness and Trails. It has long been known that walking and hiking have been the number one activity for someone 55 or better. Fitness and total wellness follow close behind. These will soon be combined at communities like Victory in what is sure to be a big trend in fitness, the “Avid Trails” system. For anyone who has skied before, you know the difference between a green run, a blue run and a black run. And you know that you had better be an expert, if you want to try a double black diamond. Avid Trails are similar to that, offering different challenges for different abilities. We will probably see this trend spill over into other activities making things easy for those just starting and a tougher workout for those more driven Boomers.

Technology. According to Science Daily, 90% of the world’s data was created over the last two years and the 65 and better crowd is leading the way; they are the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook. If they can’t be with their grandchildren, they can at least communicate with them. With the help of the internet, they are also the fastest-growing traveler demographic due largely to the ability to research and book travel so easily online. This group who grew up watching Armstrong land on the moon on a black and white TV now has more computing power on their iPhone 6 than the Apollo 11 Guidance System had. Improved technology throughout the home and community will be a huge trend, not just in 2015, but forever.

Energy Efficiency. At one point in time it was just a status symbol to drive a Prius like some Boomer celebrities did to show they were saving the environment, but today the active adult market will choose energy efficiency, if it helps the bottom line. Energy Star appliances, LED lighting and photovoltaics are trends not just fads. And while this year they may be trends, they are quickly becoming code, so if builders haven’t started learning how to deliver them affordably to the market, they will be losing not only the 55+ sector, but every other one very shortly.

Affordable Assisted Living. What would year-end predictions be without one stretch prediction? There are 88 million Baby Boomers and no two are alike. Even though 70 is yesterday’s 50, and my generation is living longer and staying healthier, at some point in time there will be a need for many Boomers to seek assisted living. But assisted living today is far from affordable. At least there seems to be a trend for 2015 in discussing this issue, and my hope is that someone cracks the code for making it work.

One final thought that was inspired recently by listening to Margaret Wylde. As I turned 60 at the end of last year, I realized that I don’t want to hear the term “aging in place” anymore. Blue cheese ages in place… I want to thrive in place! And, I never want to hear the word “senior,” unless it is followed by the word “discount!” Give me that black diamond trail at Victory!