Adapting to Changing Consumer Preferences: A Boomer’s Perspective in Senior Living

by Anthony Wilson  / June 6, 2024

Baby Boomers  • Senior Housing  • Blog

In the ever-evolving landscape of senior living, one thing remains constant: the need to adapt to changing consumer preferences. With the next generation entering retirement age, senior living operators are faced with the challenge of meeting the diverse and evolving needs and desires of this dynamic demographic.

Individuals born between 1946 and 1964 have long been known for their independence, individualism, and desire for choice. As they transition into retirement, they bring with them a set of preferences that differ significantly from previous generations. From lifestyle choices to amenities, baby boomers are reshaping the senior living industry in their image.

One of the most notable shifts in consumer preferences among baby boomers is a desire for active and engaging lifestyles. Unlike some previous generations, who may have viewed retirement as a time for relaxation and leisure, baby boomers are seeking opportunities for continued growth, learning, and adventure. Senior living operators are responding by offering a wide range of amenities and activities designed to cater to these interests, from fitness centers and outdoor recreational spaces to lifelong learning programs and volunteer opportunities. New options like SynchronyFit wellness programs, technology classes, and resident committees have been welcome additions to the Trilogy resident lifestyle. Our resident committees are identified and run by our residents. We have seen everything from knitting clubs who donate homemade blankets and other items to local hospitals, to singing ensembles and choirs who perform at our campus holiday events.

Additionally, placing a premium on flexibility and customization when it comes to their living arrangements is a clear expectation among prospective residents. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all retirement communities. Instead, senior living operators need to embrace a more personalized approach, offering a variety of housing options ranging from independent living apartments to assisted living suites and memory care units. This allows residents to choose the level of support and assistance that best suits their individual needs, empowering them to maintain their independence while receiving the care they require. Trilogy’s continued focus on the full continuum of care has allowed the organization to place the consumer’s desire for flexibility and customization at the forefront. The ability to enjoy all stages of life from the same address provides a level of safety and convenience to our resident’s lives. The addition of boutique dialysis to the list of available services has provided even more opportunities for that personalized approach.

Technology is another area where senior living operators are adapting to meet the changing preferences of baby boomers. Given the technological advancements over the past several decades, boomers are more tech-savvy than previous seniors. They expect senior living communities to offer modern amenities such as high-speed internet access, smart home technology, and telehealth services. It is not only resident-facing technologies that must be incorporated, but also technologies that focus on operational efficiencies and caregiver performance, ultimately improving the overall resident experience. At Trilogy, exploring the impact of Artificial Intelligence and how AI can impact efficiencies in care and ease the caregiver burnout is paramount. By embracing technology, senior living operators can enhance the quality of life for residents while also improving operational efficiency and communication.

Furthermore, baby boomers are reshaping the dining experience in senior living communities. As a generation that grew up during the food revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, boomers have more adventurous palates and higher expectations when it comes to culinary offerings. Senior living operators are responding by providing diverse menus featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients and accommodating special dietary needs and preferences. Additionally, many communities are incorporating farm-to-table initiatives and onsite restaurants to create a more restaurant-style dining experience for residents. We see this come to life at Trilogy through our Flavorful Balance program, prioritizing fresh ingredients and made from scratch menu items. We have also introduced a “Flavorful Dignity” program, allowing residents with mechanical food restrictions the joy of eating meals that look just like those who are not on a restricted diet.

From an operator’s perspective, adapting to changing consumer preferences requires a commitment to innovation, flexibility, and continuous improvement. At Trilogy we take every opportunity to learn, not only from consumer research, but through our bi-annual customer satisfaction surveys, putting us on a continual mission to learn from feedback. By staying attuned to the evolving needs and desires of baby boomers, senior living communities can remain competitive in a rapidly changing market while providing residents with the high-quality care and lifestyle they deserve. As the boomer generation continues to redefine aging, senior living operators must be prepared to embrace change and seize new opportunities for growth and innovation.