Today marks the successful survival of my sixth decade. It’s also a milestone that makes one begin to look ahead at plans for the future.
After more than 25 years in the field, I’m passionate about senior living communities, and Life Plan Communities in particular. I love the lifestyle and conveniences these communities offer, and I am totally open to moving to one in the future. That said, when I visit many communities, I can understand why many prospects wait until they are 82 to move.
Many senior living leaders and board members ask me, “What do we need to do to get people to move in younger?” Well, if you want me to move in when I’m 70, here’s what you need to do.
Kitchens: Mine and Yours
My wife, Renate, and I love to cook, and we intend to keep doing so for quite a long time. So we absolutely want that big kitchen with an island (so two can prep food at the same time), a wall oven and microwave, and an induction range (which works perfectly with my favorite cast iron pan). And for goodness sake, give us a pantry big enough to hold the things we need to cook and bake.
That said, we certainly won’t cook every day, and it’s great to be able to drop down and grab a meal on demand. In addition to a decent wine list (it doesn’t have to be over the top, but should be good), we expect our food to be—whenever possible—organic fruits and vegetables, free-range, antibiotic and hormone-free meats, and freshly caught fish. And we expect a nice range of keto-friendly and vegan selections to choose from, too.
Where’s the Batting Cage?
I’m not kidding. That’s really me in the video. I still expect to be swinging (in the baseball sense, mind you) when I’m 70. Renate and I are still quite active, and that’s not going to change any time soon. I will use the exercise bike, elliptical, treadmill and weights in the fitness center, but I also want to be able to shoot baskets (inside!), so be sure to include a half-court basketball court in the pickleball gym, too.
Renate is more social than me when it comes to fitness, so she will be looking for the BarreFit and StrongFit classes. And we definitely need space in the garage to store our kayaks and bikes.
Dogs and Hikes and Baths, Oh My!
We are a pet family, with one dog (Ruby) and two cats (Thor and Momo). We also like to hike and travel. What does that mean? A couple of things. First, we absolutely need a convenient (and back-friendly!) place to wash Ruby after a muddy hike. We also need a reliable pet sitter who will look after all the pets if we head out for a long weekend or a multi-week trip.
Last but not least, make sure there’s space to park the RV.
Run My Home from My Phone
Yes, I’m the guy that controlled the music at my (small, second) wedding with a remote control in my pocket right before exchanging vows. No remote is safe near me. I control my front door, garage door, blinds, lights, thermostat and bed through my iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. And that’s not to mention the Apple TV, Roku and multiple streaming apps we use instead of cable. So our home/apartment better be “smart,” with blazing Internet.
Where’s the Recording Studio?
Many of you have heard me say that I started writing my rock opera in 1982, and that—at my current pace—I should complete it in 2375. Seriously, though, once I’m not working 10-hour days every day, I really do want to have a quiet place where I can write songs, play the guitar, re-learn how to play piano, and record my music. That won’t be in an apartment with neighbors on all sides. I expect to have a sound-insulated room (think: rock drum set) to practice and play, both by myself and with others.
We are happy to pay for things as we need them. We have absolutely no interest in vacuuming, mopping floors or cleaning toilets, so bring on the housekeeping. And bless you for taking care of all the home and yard maintenance! But don’t sign us up for a meal plan; we’ll go a la carte, thank you.
Aberration or Average?
So, are Renate and I your “average” prospective couple? By not planning for the things we expect a community to have, do you risk losing just the two of us? Or do you risk losing tens, dozens or hundreds of prospects that are mostly like us, but with their own unique tastes and preferences?
If you really want to change the dynamic of who moves to your community, I believe it’s the latter.
P.S. If you’ll be ready for us in ten years, let me know! We’re building our list.