The retirement community sector is getting an image overhaul, with upscale residences that provide personal care popping up across the nation.
These communities include both independent living and nursing assistance homes, complete with amenities to rival the very best of five star luxury hotels or high-end cruise ships, the New York Times reported.
Developers are said to be investing billions in order to build these high-end senior care homes, and the market potential is said to be massive, with more than 20 percent of baby boomers believed to have saved enough to afford long term private care. Moreover, there are around 10,000 people in the U.S. that turn 65-years old every single day, it’s said.
“Baby boomers are being a very demanding customer,” Stephen Maag, director of residential communities for LeadingAge, an association in the aging industry, told the Times. He added that the industry must respond “to a consumer that has pushed back on everything they’ve touched in the last 60 years.”
One of these communities, Fountaingrove Lodge in Sonoma County, California, comes complete with a gourmet restaurant, spa, bank, wine cellar, movie theater, fitness center and large outdoor swimming pool. Its two-bedroom bungalows, which are the largest units in the community, cost around $1 million with monthly fees topping $6,000.
Another similar high-end community is being constructed in Dallas. The $140 million Buckner Luxury retirement complex there is set to be completed in 2019, and feature concierge-level services plus fine dining. Entrance fees will cost between $400,000 and $1.8 million, with monthly charges of up to $11,000.
Despite the high price, 81 percent of the units have already been booked.
The idea is to “completely treat everyone like a V.I.P.,” Rick Pruett, the complex’s executive director, told the Times. “[It has] all those little touches like you’d see at some of the finer operating hotel chains and resort centers.”
Elsewhere, Related Companies of New York is partnering with Atria Senior to own and operate collection of luxury homes for seniors worth more than $3 billion. Those communities will be located in cities including Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The company plans to offer units as rentals instead of homes for sale, and it won’t charge entrance fees.
Still, some officials are worried because typically the buyers have no real estate agent advocating for them when they move into these kinds of senior homes. The senior care industry is not regulated at a federal level, and contracts for them can be complex. In addition, some of the entrance fees can go back to the resident’s estates upon their death, or be refunded if they move. However, getting those funds returned could take a long time and even require legal action, experts warn.