NOT Your “Old Folks” Home: High-End Retirement Communities

As the life expectancy rate increases, so does American’s way of thinking about age and retirement. And with more than 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, retirement communities are beginning to spring up everywhere now that the economy is booming.

Planned communities with private homes for retired couples are growing rapidly. Rather than watching TV in a common room or playing bingo twice a week, retirees can instead look forward to private homes in gated communities, daily rounds of golf, dinner parties, health spas and boat excursions, to name a few, all surrounded by opulent and luxurious environments.

Although the overwhelming majority of boomers will continue to live in their own (or someone else’s) home or apartment, 5-8% of them will ultimately opt for seniors-only multifamily housing, according to David Schless, President of the American Seniors Housing.

Though 5-8% does not sound like it could be a big number, it is when you consider there are 76 million baby boomers. That small percentage ends up being six million boomers who will need/want retirement type communities. And there are builders/developers rushing to meet that growing need.

Like many PRiME Women, there are a large number of those baby boomers who are going to want a really up-scale option in a retirement facility. While there are certainly more options at the lower end of the spectrum, there are increasingly more luxury options.


One example is The Clare, a premier Continuing Care Retirement Community. They are raising the bar of retirement living with luxury amenities and offering a high level of care. The Clare is located in Chicago’s upscale Gold Coast neighborhood. This 53 story high rise with residences on 31 floors, offers 245 luxury apartment homes, gourmet dining, personal trainers and full concierge services.

Location is going to be very important to wealthier baby boomers as they are likely to be in better health and want to maintain an active lifestyle well into their 80’s, if not 90’s. The Clare recognized this need by locating steps away from Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile” where they have easy access to great restaurants, shopping, entertainment and cultural opportunities – all accessible by foot or utilizing The Clare’s chauffeur.

Personal trainers, concierge services, art therapists, gourmet culinary staff such as the Clare provides, will be the standard for future high-end retirement communities. As baby boomers continue to age, the need for more Clare type facilities will grow exponentially.

“There is an unmet demand for high-quality senior living in this country, and that’s the niche we’re trying to fill,” says Randal J. Richardson, president of Classic Residence by Hyatt, which is owned by privately held Global Hyatt, one of the world’s largest operators of luxury hotels. “It’s only been in the last decade or two that people have started recognizing that and have been moving to meet it.”

There will no doubt be many more in the coming years joining The Clare and Hyatt in filling the need for luxury retirement communities.