Are D.C.’s richest older adults aging together?

In Metro Washington, more than 60 percent of all home sales are by buyers ages 55 and over, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and income gaps between younger generations and baby boomers are the widest in any major U.S. city. Overall, a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center found that 47 percent of aging Americans had less than $20,000 in savings or investments at the time of the 2015 survey, down from 64 percent in 2007.

How do wealthy people age?

To find out, REAL Trends commissioned NPD Group for an online study analyzing preferences, behavior and desires of Washington’s wealthiest older adults. Among questions asked:

• Why do you prefer a luxury senior home?

• Is the need for privacy important to you?

• What steps have you taken to remain independent and control your health as you age?

Below are four significant findings.

Boomers age 50-64 still want to be together

The study found that more than half of D.C.’s affluent older adults over the age of 60 also still report a need for some type of single housing, and 31 percent of these men and women continued to live with their children to avoid becoming a burden on them. Despite being encouraged to relocate by friends and family, it seems many boomers don’t want to give up close-knit relationships with their peers.

Accommodating senior friendships

According to the National Senior Partners and Presence DC studies, almost 40 percent of seniors see moving as a way to preserve their social networks. This is a paradox, because moving costs considerable money and requires sacrifice of relationships. These statistics predict the challenges facing the changing senior living model.

Increasingly a focus on wellness

“In the early years of aging, fitness and safety rank high in health concerns,” says John Olson, vice president of market analysis at NPD. “But as the benefits of sustained activities and interaction with people increase, these priorities give way to health issues like loneliness.”

Finding private health accommodations

“Treatment restrictions due to medication can force seniors to seek longer-term senior living, which comes with a higher cost,” says Olson.

You don’t have to be alone

The NPD research shows that people who prefer luxury senior living have more choices. These respondents are also nearly twice as likely to move to a private residence than their counterparts. The study also shows that moving to a luxury senior living community can have an impact on how long they live in their community.

It’s about balance

A major concern for the wealthy over the age of 60 is needing both the convenience and privacy that their surroundings provide. According to the NPD research, people in the top 20 percent of income and education levels have the highest need for privacy, even more than people with high income and education levels.

Residential communities like Riversedge and Florence Park are committed to enhancing overall quality of life for their residents. In 2011, Lakeside Communities built Lakeside at Horseshoe Falls, a five-acre wellness village within the 816-unit Riversedge. With an average price of $1.3 million, these communities are built on 42 acres of park and recreation space and feature a guided walking trail, dog park, and complimentary shuttle and boat tours. Both Riversedge and Florence Park offer custom-designed suites, such as those by Ashby Homes, that have home theater room seating and the touch of a keypad. Both communities will use a specialized floor plan for every bedroom and bath in order to provide residents with privacy and efficiency.

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