Trends in Active Adult Communities

Mention the phrase “active adult communities” and a few images probably spring to mind. But whatever you’re thinking (and we’re guessing it involves golf carts), the reality is actually a lot more diverse.

That’s because, thanks to forward-thinking property management companies, the lifestyles at active adult communities are now as vibrant as they are varied. Here’s how that’s happening.

1. The demographics are changing.

Today’s active adult communities are a far cry from the stereotypes of retired people who have moved far away from their families to live out their golden years in a warmer climate. Instead, today’s residents might work part-time or full-time. They may want to be closer to their families. They’re healthier, because we’re all living longer, so they demand activities of varying intensities. Together, this can make for a busier, less leisure-focused culture where residents live closer to cities and, as a result, are more open to arts and culture – and who may need a clubhouse that features a business center so they can squeeze in some consulting work, too.

2. Community cultures are resident-driven.

Great property management companies take the temperature of their residents to build appropriate lifestyle programs. Bocce ball might be fine, but nobody wants it forced upon them, right? Instead, today’s property managers are immersed in the actual culture of their community, and tailor their programs accordingly. Sure, it takes extra work, but it’s worth it – by getting to know the different groups of residents, their individual likes and dislikes come to light. Property managers often find groups or “cliques” of residents who enjoy playing in softball leagues, vacationing together, playing cards with one another, or even taking Pilates classes together, and these preferences guide the other aspects of the lifestyle program.

3. Property managers are trained to do it.

Fostering a unique culture doesn’t happen accidentally. Progressive property management companies, such as FirstService Residential, have training programs in place that enable their associates to identify trends and cultivate them into concrete lifestyle programs. There’s never a top-down imposition of an idea or agenda; instead, associates keep their fingers on the pulse of fluid groups and subcultures and work to nurture burgeoning interests into full programs. Beyond that, associates are carefully chosen to work in active adult requires a special convergence of the art of interpersonal communication and the science of business management to operate truly effectively in this capacity.

4. Developers are thinking about community much earlier in the process.

Gone are the days where developers could simply build homes around a golf course, stick a community center in the middle, then wait for the residents to come pouring in. Today, active adults lead lives that are far more varied – and much more complex. As such, developers engage with property management companies early on to help build their communities around local interests. They also work to create communities that are more in line with the changing demographics of aging adults. This is great news for property managers – by creating lifestyle programs in tandem with the physical aspects of a community, there’s much greater synergy between the two elements. It’s a win for residents, too, which are able to discover a community that feels more tailored to their interests – and continues to be tailored to them as their lives evolve over time.

Active adult communities are changing – and that’s a good thing. As they do, great property management companies are finding ways to foster cultures in an organic way. For more on how this is happening, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s leader in active adult community management.
Monday October 06, 2014