Big Data Download

A new look at retirement for baby boomers

Althea Chang

Many baby boomers aren't moving to warmer climates as they age and generally resist the views of retirement held by previous generations, according to one builder of health-care facilities.

In a survey commissioned by Mainstreet Property Group, nearly half of baby boomers polled had health problems at the time, the company said. But whether they have a heart condition, are recovering from hip or knee replacement surgery or need long-term care, boomers want to retire and receive health care near their current homes.

That's partly because boomers want to stay close to their families, according Mainstreet CEO Zeke Turner.

About two in five boomers polled said that living near their children will "very much" affect their decision about where they retire, and only one in four said they expect to move when they stop working.

Boomers also want to maintain active social lives, according to the survey.

"They want social amenities, they want socialization to be the major part of what they have in their health-care needs," Turner told Big Data Download. "They want to move beyond bingo and karaoke. They want to go on walks, they want to have a chef on-site showing them how to cook. They want to be engaged in what they do, in real-life activities," Turner said.

One in four of those surveyed said that "cultural outings" are the most important social activity they look for in a retirement facility. Many retirement facilities near major cities can fulfill that demand, but close proximity to a city can be expensive.

Mainstreet facilities can cost as much as $250 a day for those paying out of pocket for a short-term stay. A long-term stay can cost between $2,000 and $5,000 a month, depending on the level of medical care required, Turner said.

Mainstreet and other retirement home operators, such as Genesis HealthCare and HCR ManorCare, may face roadblocks in states—including Michigan, Georgia and Florida—that don't allow new construction of senior health care facilities, he said.

"The consumers in states that don't allow for this need to be asking their legislature to change the law [and] allow for this type of expansion," Turner said.

By Althea Chang

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