We Need to Meet the (Baby) Booming Demand
Bruno Vaquette
Bruno Vaquette
CEO Sodexo Seniors Segment Worldwide

Take a look around any city these days and you might notice that among the young people there are a fair number of people who look old enough to be their parents. That’s because they are. Baby Boomers are embracing city life.

It’s a trend that’s happening worldwide. In the U.S., nearly one-third of all urban applications are for renters over age 60. Analysts in England report a surge in older residents trading country homes for city apartments. In China, seniors are moving to cities to be close to their children and gain access to healthcare expertise. At the same time, retirement expertsare lauding the benefits of big cities in Europe, Asia and the U.S.

The Baby Boomer generation revolutionized the world when they were young… Let’s pay more attention as they again change the status quo.

Seniors are finding cities easier to navigate with mass transit and walkable neighborhoods. They often find better access to healthcare, more opportunities to meet others and socialize and city life offers an endless supply of culture, cuisine and amenities.

But there is a disconnect between the growing demand and the residential options.

For instance, according to the Washington Post, in the U.S., almost 80 percent of seniors 65 and older live in car-dependent suburbs and rural areas. Many feel isolated and at the mercy of friends or family to visit or ferry them around. This can lead to depression, food insecurity, untreated falls and other consequences.

Urban areas need more housing and communities designed for seniors – affordable choices with accessible layouts that offer quality healthcare and support in-house or nearby.

Our industry has both an opportunity and a responsibility to serve this generation better. We are experts in creating livable communities and are uniquely poised to marry accessible, comfortable amenities with the best parts of city life.

Some senior living communities are paying attention. The Wolff Company, for instance, will  open a Revel community near Los Angeles to join their other urban locations. In France, Domitys offers independent living for seniors in close to 100 cities. In London, an over-55 complex has opened in one of the most bustling parts of the city.

It’s important that those of us in the business of supporting seniors follow suit. As our industry continually redefines the term “senior living,” let’s expand our concepts geographically to include more urban communities.

The Baby Boomer generation revolutionized the world when they were young as activists and when they became adults as parents and consumers. Let’s pay more attention as they again, in their senior years, change the status quo.


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