Lively, Interactive Session Showcases Active Adult Opportunities

At a unique brainstorming session, Spring Conference attendees will have the opportunity to help shape the answer to what baby boomers want.

March 14, 2022

Active Adult • Industry Leaders and Experts • Senior Housing • Blog

The emerging active adult segment aims to attract baby boomers. The question: What do they want?

At a unique brainstorming session, NIC Spring Conference attendees will have the opportunity to help shape the answer to that question. The session, “The Time is Now: Developing the Active Adult Playbook,” will be among the highlights at the 2022 NIC Spring Conference in Dallas (March 23-25).

“Be a part of the conversation,” said Maria Nadelstumph, SVP of Brandywine Living’s Center of Excellence. She will co-facilitate the 75-minute session with Ben Burke, CEO of Headwaters Group.

In a recent interview, Nadelstumph described the format as something like a think tank experience and encouraged conference participants to attend the Thursday afternoon session (March 24). “Everyone can join the interactive dialogue to share their thoughts on the evolution of active adult communities,” she said.

The session will include a short introduction, followed by small group deep dive discussions to explore the challenges and opportunities of the active adult segment. The breakout groups will be facilitated by a powerhouse collection of experts—selected for their industry knowledge of operations, investments, marketing, development and consulting.

The introduction will include a video detailing the key aspects of the active adult market, along with comments from consumers who live in the communities.

The deep dive discussions will focus on three topic areas: People (consumer/marketing); Product (design/amenities); and Program (services/management.) The freewheeling discussion will tackle questions such as: Who is the “right” active adult resident? What are the “right” amenities? What are the “right” services?

Participants will also explore the nuances of the active adult market. For example, don’t call residents “seniors.” And is aging in place something to avoid or embrace?

Each group will report their findings during the last 20 minutes of the session to highlight aspects and themes that could be included in an active adult playbook.

Nadelstumph observed that the trending interest in the active adult segment is much like assisted living was 30 years ago when it emerged as a new type of living option for older people. “Everyone wants to know more about active adult,” she said.

Previewing what attendees can expect to learn at the session, Burke noted some striking differences between the active adult segment and traditional senior housing. Active adult residents tend to be younger than those in senior housing. Active adult services are unbundled, rents are lower than independent living, but higher than multifamily.

Labor pressures are not as much of an issue with active adult because the properties don’t require a big staff. Active adult is not a healthcare model. And residents tend to have a longer length of stay than those in traditional senior housing.

Burke also noted strong investor interest in the active adult segment. “Recent sales in the space show that the properties are highly valued,” he said.

Likening the collaborative session to a hands-on laboratory, Burke said that attendees will come away with a better understanding of the active adult segment and how they can explore further opportunities. Nadelstumph added, “Attendees will have an ‘aha’ moment.”