Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

Senior Housing Suburbia Opportunity

David Peterson has an interesting article in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune about how baby boomers are going to create a senior tsunami in suburbia.What a great opportunity this is for senior housing and service organizations to rethink and reinvent what they deliver to their customers. As Rita DeBruyn, coordinator of the Five Cities Senior Transportation Program, which covers western burbs said: 'Twenty years ago it was subsidized senior dining or card clubs. We’d have 100 people a day gathering to play cards. Today they want to go to Panera Bread. We don’t even do 'senior dining.' And instead of card clubs, it’s Westminster Town Hall Forum, or MacPhail for concerts. They want to be intellectually stimulated.'Yes they do. We in the senior housing and senior living profession have to deliver.


Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

Baby Boomers And Work

The Age Wave is coming. And according to this thought-provoking article 'Job Crunch Ahead as Boomers Retire' by Warren Wolfe at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota can’t afford to lose the experience. According to Wolfe:As an aging baby boom generation nears retirement, keeping more older workers in the labor force could ease a tightening supply of skilled workers, boost income tax collections, take some pressure off a shaky Social Security system, and help older people better finance their retirement.We asked baby boomers in our Age Wave Study if they were going to retire at 65. Many aren’t. Many see work as an integral part of their life, not just a paycheck.This becomes especially important for the senior housing and long-term care professions, which are projected to have huge job shortages. Our profession is going to need to find ways to keep expertise. Also, working longer gives people more options as they consider how they want to live as seniors and how they finance long-term care.The Boomer ChroniclesThe Boomer Chronicles is a blog written by a 40-something Boston-based boomer Rhea. She’s writing about boomer life while living it. She updates continually, so always fresh and interesting content.


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More Changing Aging Blogs

Recently we shared top 5 web sites that are changing aging at ProBlogger. We greatly appreciate ProBlogger’s invitation to do this. But there are many more sites that are changing aging beyond the 5 we mentioned and we will continue to share many more them at this blog over time. Here are several others: The Savvy Boomer: A goal of this blog is to unravel personal technology geek speak for boomers and seniors. The Ageless Project: Think blogging is only for the young? Think again. You’ll find a variety of senior and boomer bloggers here. Ageless Marketing: Throw away the cookie cutter. This site tackles myths of marketing to an older consumer. Boomers: Opens the door to reaching a rapidly changing marketplace. Written By Brent Green, author of the book "Marketing to Baby Boomers: Perceptions, Principles, Practices, Predictions." Very few mainstream media tackle aging. No suprise the online community is leading the way. We’d love to hear about other blogs that are looking at aging in a whole different light?


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Minnesota Senior Housing Blog

There are few bloggers in the country that focus on aging and senior housing. Want to share with you another one that is right here in the Twin Cities: Lisa Dunn’s Real Sage Advice.Great blog name, but it also great content. Lisa describes her blog as a 'Discussion of Aging Issues, Senior Housing, and the Twin Cities Real Estate Market as seen through the lens of a Realtor who is a Certified Senior Advisor, and specializes in working with seniors.'


Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

First Active Adult Community Hits Minnesota

Senior housing development in Minnesota is largely associated with assisted living, but now Minnesota’s first active adult community is coming. Popular in other parts of the country, they have been a long time coming here … and we have a hugely active 55+ populace.The first one is The Four Seasons at Rush Creek in Maple Grove. It’s being developed by K. Hovinanan Homes, a national builder.There is a housing slowdown in the Twin Cities, but this is a niche product that will likely find buyers. There’s a large group of minnesota seniors and aging baby boomers who will want this type of product.


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The Silent Generation

Because there are approximately 77 million baby boomers in America and 1.5 million in Minnesota, we talk a lot about the baby boomers and their impact on senior housing and services, but the true next generation of seniors is the Silent Generation.' Gene Dolloff, who heads senior dining services at Morrison Management Specialists visited Ecumen recently and shared with us interesting information on the Silents. Morrison serves approximately 400 senior housing communities in the United States and many continuing care retirement communities, which are popular in other parts of the country, but haven’t hit Minnesota. Morisson’s research is qualitative and quantitative. Here are some interesting items from Morrison’s research as to how Silents (which were born between 1925 and 1942) differ from the GI Generation:- Silents are more assertive, questioning than GIs.- They travel more.- More independent, demonstrate more control over choices.- Less formal, more social, more vocal- More health and fitness conscious- More educatedLooking at some of the key characteristics of Silents, it’s clear that they’re going to demand different senior housing options and services as they age. Innovation can’t wait for the baby boomers.


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Elderly Also Read Paper

The following is from a letter to the Star Tribune by Kathryn Roberts, CEO & President of Ecumen regarding the reassignment of reporter Warren Wolfe and the discontinuing of his aging beat:Warren’s curiosity and dedication to telling the stories of growing older in Minnesota have been a great service to readers. I’m amazed that the Star Tribune would retrench on aging as our region faces an unprecedented age wave. Right along with historic demographic change will be newsworthy transformation in technology, senior services, housing, public policy, the workplace and more.As Kathryn states in the conclusion of her letter, 'Much is changing about aging in the 21st century.'We hope that the Star Tribune will soon find a way to share this news with the return of an aging beat that supports vital, successful aging.Until then, the Changing Aging blog will remain a public forum to discuss noteworthy senior issues.


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Congratulations to Eric Schubert!

Eric Schubert, Ecumen’s Director of Communications, was honored as a 40 Under 40' by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.The '40 Under 40' compiled annually, credits accomplished professionals in the fields of business, government and non-profits who have yet to reach 40 years of age.Says the Journal,'Schubert began his career with an ambush. After returning to Minnesota following a brief internship with a PR firm in Atlanta, Schubert waited outside the WCCO Radio Building in downtown Minneapolis while ad man Dave Mona and Star Tribune sports columnist Sid Hartman were winding up their Sunday talk show. When Mona emerged from the office building, Schubert pounced and gave a 2-minute sales pitch while Mona walked to his car. Shortly after that, he was hired.'Schubert later spent eight years working at Himle Hormer, a Minneapolis based communications firm before joining Team Ecumen three years ago. Since then, he has received the 2005 Citizens League Civic Leadership Award for efforts to address statewide issues in a bipartisan manner and has frequently contributed to the Star Tribune & Pioneer Press opinion pages.Quotes Schubert to the Journal regarding his work Ecumen, 'Our focus is on changing the experience of aging by helping people live where they want to live. I never thought I’d find myself here, but it’s very rewarding.'Congratulations again, to Eric Schubert! We are extremely fortunate to have you on our team.


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The Opportunities for Long-Term Care Insurance

It is often said that insurance is sold not bought. But when it comes to long-term-care (LTC) insurance, it’s neither sold nor bought. Insurers are apparently having a tough go convincing Americans to buy insurance that could cover the costs of health expenses, home health aides, assisted-living facilities and nursing homes, among other items … . This is the intro from an interesting article by Robert Powell at Marketwatch.com.The fact is that the American public is just absolutely wary of long-term care insurance products. What an opportunity for insurance companies to develop new hybrid products that the next generation of seniors see value in right now. Genworth Financial really starts to hit the mark with their '100+ stories' featuring centenarians who planned ahead. As the voiceover says … there’s a difference 'between living long and living well. That’s an important point for senior housing and aging services professionals.You can read more about what Minnesota baby boomers say about long-term care insurance as they look ahead to being Minnesota seniors by reading our Age Wave Study. It’s clear to them that aging is all about living and they want the senior housing, insurance options and public policy that help them live the way they want to.


Senior man and woman having coffee at table seen through window

Communities Not Prepared for Aging Baby Boomers

A new study led by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and funded by MetLife Foundation in partnership with the National Association of Counties and the National League of Cities finds that only 46% of American communities have begun planning to address the needs of the exploding population of aging baby boomers. Information gathered from local governments surveyed shows that:

  • in 1/3 of those communities older adults do not have access to a range of needed, preventative health care services;
  • more than 1/3 of communities do not have fitness programs for older adults;
  • many communities are not addressing the mobility needs of an aging population;
  • Only half the communities reported having home modification programs that adapt the existing homes of older adults to address physical limitations which would allow seniors to live in their own homes.

To see what Minnesota baby boomers are thinking about in terms of successful aging, read the Ecumen Age Wave Study.