Boomers Create a Surge in Luxury Care Communities

The restaurant at Fountaingrove Lodge has a sweeping view of California’s Sonoma County, a panorama one might expect at a five-star resort. The grounds include an impressive wine cellar, spa, bank, fitness center, movie theater and a large outdoor swimming pool.

“I love the water aerobic courses,” said William Baird, 71.

But Fountaingrove Lodge is a not a resort — it is a retirement community, part of a new breed of luxury supportive senior housing. These upscale communities offer a continuum of care from independent living to failing health, allowing people to age in one place for a relatively fixed price, but with amenities common in exclusive hotels and high-end cruise ships.

Now, as the baby boom generation is about to enter its most senior years, billions of dollars are being invested in a building surge for high-end housing. The investments will test limits of consumer spending in an industry where regulations are inconsistent or lacking, and contracts are criticized for being confusing and complex.

The potential market is huge. By some industry estimates, 20 percent of baby boomers, or about 15 million people, have saved enough to afford private continuing care, with many expected to demand a very high standard of living.

– The New York Times

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