by Phillip B. Burum, DR Horton,
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
More than 50 percent of all homes in America are owned by someone aged 55 or older. With that deep of a buyer pool, homebuilders will continually innovate in order to attract the American ‘senior’ population. These innovations are focused not just on the home, but also the neighborhood and region in which the home is built.
For those who are considering moving to an active adult community, consider the features and location of the community and be sure they fit with your personal lifestyle. Your lifestyle may gravitate more towards walking, hiking or horse trails than a golf course. Whatever drives you should drive your selection of communities.
Be sure to take note of the recreation facility, which is likely the key feature of larger age-targeted communities. These facilities may include pools, spas, sport courts and even health spas or fully equipped gyms. If you tend to be more social, a great recreation facility will be key to your happiness in the community as most provide rooms or other spaces suited for social activities like dancing, singing, exercise or even the occasional game of pickleball.
One of the biggest trends in developing new active adult communities is to locate them near public transit hubs, retail shopping centers and restaurants rather than isolating them far away from city conveniences. Several new communities are even being constructed near colleges, which enable residents to participate in continuing education or attend the many cultural and academic events that revolve around college campuses.
Many homeowners are making plans for ‘aging in place,’ a term used to describe those who intend to stay in their existing home long after retirement. It is not always necessary to complete a full-blown remodel to suit your retirement needs but many who face medical challenges may require some adjustments to the home to ensure comfortable living as the years pass.
The latest 55 Plus homebuilding trends include ‘Universal Design’ (UD) features, which focus on making living spaces fully accessible to people of all different ages and abilities. Some of the more common features that are incorporated into new homes or aging-in-place remodels include simple changes such as no-step entry and thresholds that are flush with the floor. If you are buying a new home to retire in, look for wider doorways and hallways to accommodate wheel chair use. Anyone who uses a walker to get around the home in their later years will also appreciate the extra width.
Installing handrails throughout the home, especially in bathrooms, is a key feature to include when planning your retirement home purchase or home improvement project. Simple changes, like adding non-slip surfaces to steps, tubs and showers can make a tremendous difference in the livability of the home for our aging family members. Consider changing out knobs and flip switches for lever door handles and rocker light switches. These changes are not only helpful for someone challenged with arm or hand strength, you will be thankful for them the next time your arms are full of groceries and you need to get into a room or turn on a light.
These UD features, along with providing more open space or larger floor areas, are a significant part of building for the 55 Plus community. For information on the many options for senior living in our region or home improvements you can make as you plan for your retirement years, search your internet browser using keywords like ‘senior living, age restricted, or aging in place.’ You will find there is an opportunity for nearly everyone and every lifestyle in the Baldy View region.
For additional information or resources on homebuying, home improvements or the benefits of homeownership, go to www.biabuild.com on the web.