Aging in Place 201
After driving up and down Florida highways and seeing the actual billboards signs heralding the qualities of each retirement community, I thought I would return to the concept of marketing to boomers. Sign after sign between the orange groves promised that their community would be the best, that they were was Florida’s premier spot for retirement, or that it was the most sought after.
With trailer park communities next to expensive developments, it is hard to say that there is any lack of choice for people moving to the sunny states.
But what about the draw by local CCRCs (Continuous Care Retirement Communities) ? To redefine these are retirement communities with accommodations for independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care, offering residents a continuum of care. A person can spend the rest of his life in a CCRC, moving between levels of care as needed.
They are usually attached or sometimes surrounded by independent patio style home/apartments in a village format. What is changing now in the tone and direction of the marketing for these communities. I think just because they have been built they are not being necessarily flooded with applications. Why else would the local one by me continuously advertised as just a few spots left?
The ads emphasize all the amenities that the younger set of boomers demand. There are salt water pools, bistros, a plethora of scheduled events, excursions and quest speakers/mini courses beyond the usual complete gym and dining choices you can buy into. In a way more activities than a cruise ship on steroids.
Some of my favorite expression I found in the advertising literature is a life style authored by you. Discover the balance you crave, simplify your life! Compose the story of your retirement!
The reality is that many of these developments are just that under development and when you try and go see it you are treated to nice lunch and a power point presentation and staring at empty acres. The ambiance comes later I guess.
But what bothers me is the hard sell is now also the Jedi mind warp sell. They have hijacked the concept of aging in place and spread it across the advertising. You are somehow now choosing to age in place by selling your home and buying into life or monthly contracts so you can age in place through to the CCRC. Their logic is presented as why not come here early so you can enjoy all this fun stuff!
Now I am first to admit that aging brings us individually into different situations. We have varying levels of resources , of encroaching frailty and variable levels of family support. That will bring different people to different decisions. It is good that all these options are out there.
Just watch out for the hard sell for the soft life style… the pace of your life should be set at your choosing. How much of your own natural momentum do you give up when you sign over to the prepackaged community. I would love to hear from anyone out there who has a more direct perspective on this.