Easy Living: Seniors Don't Shy From Retirement Communities
Copley News Service Online (11/25/01) p.B7A; Tarter, Steve

According to Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., a financial services firm in Baltimore, Md., the senior housing market will skyrocket by 2010 from $15 billion to $56 billion. Presently, one in eight Americans is a senior citizen; and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) expects the ratio to increase to one in five by 2030, when a majority of baby boomers enter retirement. Although seniors represent the fastest-growing segment of the population, there will be a period of slowing in the senior housing industry over the next 20 years as the number of people over 80 drops--the result of fewer births during the 1930s and World War II. By 2026, however, senior housing facilities--which include assisted living, continuing care, active-adult, shared housing, and skilled nursing--should jump 30 percent. Though many would like to continue living in their homes, finances, health, the absence of a spouse, and/or the inability of adult children to provide help often forces seniors to choose other options. A recent HUD report finds that seniors choose housing that fosters a sense of independence, explaining the current shift away from expensive nursing homes. While developers are currently constructing facilities that offer a wide-array of amenities, sometimes at high costs, they also will be faced with demand for low-income senior housing. Industry experts recommend that seniors and their families do research first, as many housing plans have hidden fees.

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