Nowadays we find more and more senior people feeling isolated, lonely and anxious as they approach their retirement age, which mostly happens as a result of the lifestyle transition (e.g. retirement age, less contact with family or changes in routine). In order to help them adjust and meet their demands in the experience-driven economy, it is crucial to introduce a new alternative way of living for the silver generations of tomorrow. In this article we explore senior coliving as a modern solution set to revolutionise the way we age. The article was published in the Senior Housing & Healthcare Association Expo Real Report 2022.
Gradually moving away from the bygone home ownership patterns, we have evolved into the experience economy, where the intangible matters more than the product itself. Ever since 2012 the homeownership rate has been in a steady decline, as many adults in their prime working age are choosing to own less and experience more (Eurostat, 2020). And as the current generation ages and their demands shift, so do their future choices, the choices that will drive the housing offerings of tomorrow.
Experience economy, urban mobility, globalisation, individual lifestyle changes and extreme attention to mental wellbeing within modern societies are some of the major factors shifting our decision-making process. We find more people feeling isolated, lonely and anxious as they approach their retirement age, which predominantly happens as a result of the upcoming lifestyle transition (be that retirement, less contact with family or changes in the routine).
It is, thus, time that a community-driven way of living is introduced to the silver generation of tomorrow, a way of living that is going to address and elevate both the autonomy of the elderly, and the desire to belong within different communities.
Supporting the silver generation in this transitional phase of their life is crucial when it comes to shaping the way we live. There are, however, key indicators to consider when defining the main characteristics of the future senior customer and building a suitable way of living tailored to their needs.
Being one of the wealthiest generations so far, our current and next silver populations - baby boomers and later millenials - have higher income, asset worth and, consequently, higher living standard expectations. These characteristics build a persona accustomed to a greater pool of choice in their day-to-day decisions, comfort, outstanding experience and service.
So how do we manage their expectations and needs? Firstly, we need to assess how key product indicators shape the direction in which the future way of living for seniors will be developing. This will include analysing the target group in regards to the state of their physical and mental health, marital status, individualism vs. family-oriented culture, rural vs. urban living preferences and more. Depending on these factors, the future development opportunities will shift and/or expand to fit the dynamics of the customer expectations.
The real estate industry has already developed a concept ready to address the needs imposed by this demographic profile - the concept of coliving. Coliving is a modern way of communal living in which residents have both their autonomy and a place in a community through sharing common areas such as lounges, gardens, or launderettes. The aspect of community and the need for belongingness are addressed through having tailored community events, engagement with locals and focus on overall wellbeing.
Some companies are already pushing the boundaries of the senior housing industry to new horizons by introducing disrupting concepts into the European senior living scene. Take for example, THE EMBASSIES in Switzerland, Groupius Wonen in the Netherlands or Lively in Germany. Senior coliving concepts like these can elevate the quality of life as a whole by addressing the main needs and wishes of seniors, including the need for community, experience and high-quality lifestyle. By increasing the social contact and cultivating a lively and engaged community, senior coliving has the potential to significantly reduce the social isolation, anxiety and depression often experienced by the senior members of our society.
Ageing population dynamics and the demographics’ characteristics leave us confident about the continued growth in demand for such an asset class, leading to great investment opportunities. Senior coliving is a modern specialist real estate product that will undoubtedly bring significant yields and potential for capital growth in the years to come.
Instead of focusing on individualism and ownership, senior coliving concept is centred on building community, fostering human connection, and ingraining current and future ageing society’s needs into its DNA. Reshaping and rethinking the way we age and live is crucial to a happier and a more fulfilled life in the future. As a company driven by innovation within specialist real estate, Spatial Experience is looking forward to co-creating future-proof senior coliving concepts. We help our partners envision and roll-out concepts, products and brands from their initial stage until development. Bringing bespoke real estate expertise into the industry is much needed when finding solutions to fit the demands of the silver generation to be. Once we become more open to the idea of modern senior coliving, the latter will undoubtedly revolutionise the way we think about retirement, ageing for the better and having fun while getting older.