Significant Findings from First-Ever National Survey of CCRC Residents’ Families

In 2011, Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, Ziegler, and Brecht Associates, Inc. partnered to conduct the first-ever national survey of family members of residents living in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). The purpose of this research is to assist senior living providers in the planning of their futures, as many are wondering what the next generation of older adults will want relative to their housing and lifestyle needs.

It is estimated that there are nearly 41 million individuals ages 65 years or older currently living in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Over the next twenty years, this age cohort is expected to grow by more than 75 percent (U.S. Administration on Aging, 2010). Both senior housing providers and industry professionals alike recognize the need to understand the preferences of this age group and others that may consider moving to a retirement community—specifically continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs)—as a future lifestyle choice.

The National Survey of Family Members of Residents Living in CCRCs focuses on people who are knowledgeable about the CCRC concept, and can provide helpful feedback regarding what they would like to see in a future community. The information collected will help CCRCs understand what should be planned relative to future services, programs, amenities, housing, and lifestyle options. To that end, a key purpose of this study was to build a profile of the next generation of older adults most likely to select a future CCRC lifestyle.

Two hundred twenty-one CCRCs (primarily not-for-profit) participated in the study. Nearly 3,700 family members from 49 states and the District of Columbia responded to the web survey. Eight in ten respondents were members of the boomer generation (born 1946–1964); married; parents of one or more children; living in a single-family home; college graduates; and, in “very good-to-excellent” health.

The survey consisted of 49 questions focusing on the following key areas:

  • opinions about the community in which the resident lives;
  • plans about one’s own retirement and future housing plans;
  • interests and preferences for a CCRC lifestyle;
  • programs, services, amenities, and long-term care contract preferences; and,
  • choices regarding housing options to meet future needs.

Some of the key findings included:

  • seventy-seven percent of respondents would be likely or very likely to consider a CCRC lifestyle;
  • respondents’ interest in a future CCRC lifestyle for themselves is strongly influenced by their family members’ experiences living in CCRCs;
  • access to assisted living and long-term care, if needed, are two of the most important reasons respondents would select a CCRC for themselves in the future; and
  • most important to respondents in their decision-making about moving to a CCRC in the future were cost and value of the community; reputation of the owner; availability of onsite health care if needed; community location; and, services and amenities offered.

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Self-Fulfilling ProphecyHow Perceptions of Aging Affect Our Later Years

Learn how older adults’ perceptions of aging—and their self-perceptions—can have serious effects on their health, behaviors, and even longevity.

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