Key Design Features for 55+ Buyers
January 12, 2023
Is 60 really the new 40? Studies show that people are feeling younger and living longer. According to The Guardian, 46% feel fitter than their parents did at the same age, and 22% say they feel 20 years younger than they are. This has a drastic impact on how 55+ communities are designed. Homes and neighborhoods that emphasize activity, social lifestyles and a sense of community are top priority for active adults.
These homes need to wow potential buyers with top-of-the-line, luxurious design and finishes. This means including an expansive main living space with plenty of entertainment options. Large islands should provide a dramatic and showy focal point for social gatherings – and pretty yet highly functional storage. Glamour should extend outside, too, where true outdoor living rooms with full kitchens impart an upscale sensibility to even the most modestly sized homes.
Many 55+ individuals are still in the workforce, so a multi-functional space for work and hobbies is a key design consideration. These can be the same space that functions multiple ways, or multiple niche spaces, like desk nooks near main living areas and separate, more traditional “office” flex rooms for privacy (and to keep those messier hobby spaces out of public view). It’s best to include multiple room options for variety and function.
In warmer climates, including a lap pool is a great option for 55+. Lot premiums often mean a full size pool just won’t fit, but even if the site plan can accommodate a larger pool, consider using a lap pool instead. The smaller pool size is perfect for the active, daily exercise needs of 55+ buyers. It also leaves plenty of space for other exterior amenities so the pool becomes a complementary feature of outdoor living – not the primary focal point. Lap pools require less maintenance, offer an effective way to work out that is easy on the joints, and can even be great spots for the grandkids to play.
Community is arguably the most important feature to consider when designing 55+ neighborhoods. Movement, sunshine and friendship are key components to life longevity. Land plans can promote these elements through interconnectedness of private residential lots with open space, trails and shared communal environments. These allow homeowners to enjoy the outdoors in a variety of ways, all while building relationships within the neighborhood.
Linking this network of open space to a central clubhouse or multiple, smaller amenity experiences within the development plan is a great way to extend the experience and foster a sense of belonging. Many 55+ communities include a large pool with supplement splash pads for children, and pocket parks throughout the development can include climbing structures or natural playscapes where younger relatives, kids and grandkids can spend time together.
These projects were featured in Volume 12 of our inspire magazine. Check it out here!