Senior on the rise: aging boomers drive Colorado real estate niche.

Author:Jackson, Margaret
Position:REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP
 
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Over the next 15 years, the number of people in Colorado age 65 or older is expected to more than double, creating a high demand for senior living facilities that offer more than the sterile, institutional nursing homes of the past that frightened children visiting elderly relatives.

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In large part, the older population is a result of the wave of baby boomers--those born between 1946 and 1964--who came here in the 1980s and 1990s. But the state has increasingly become a destination for retirees who want to be closer to their children and grandchildren who live here.

"Colorado is a sought-out destination for retirees," says Camille Thompson, president of Christian Living Services, which offers specialized design consulting and financial projections, as well as ongoing management of a community after it is completed. "Adult children also want to bring their parents here. Colorado has been one of the nation's top markets for future growth of senior housing."

Christian Living Services, which manages a number of senior communities throughout the state, has teamed up with developers to build even more. Among its latest projects is Cappella Assisted Living and Memory Support, a community that will include 40 assisted living and 26 memory support apartments in Grand Junction. Christian Living Services is joining forces with with Denver-based Confluent Development on the project.

Amenities for All

Thompson says it's important to design the communities with amenities that make it enjoyable for both residents and their families to be there. Multiple restaurants, game rooms, milk-shake bars and common space to offer life enrichment programs in art, music, theater and education are all part of the package.

"We create these platforms where older adults keep growing," Thompson says.

When the last of the baby boomers reach age 65 in 2029, they will represent more than 20 percent of the total U.S. population, numbering about 60 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about 70 percent of the over-65 population requires some form of long-term care, which will create unprecedented demand for senior living and nursing services in the coming decades. Today, more than 733,300 seniors call senior living communities home.

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Market Play

In addition to the aging population, a robust real estate market over the last five years has spurred development of...

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