Roughly 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 today — and every day — for the next 17 years. Born between 1946 and 1964, baby boomers make up 26 percent of the U.S population. This age group also controls 80 percent of all personal financial assets in the United States. At the same time, by 2020, baby boomers will still make up 25 percent of our workforce.
That’s pretty significant.
With baby boomers making up such a huge part of our population and living longer and maintaining more active lifestyles, they are the single most important demographic for interior designers to pay attention to right now.
Gone are the days of retrofit, unattractive aging-in-place solutions. The good news is you don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort to design a safe home that meets the needs of the active baby boomer generation. Gorgeous walk-in showers and zero-clearance garages can fix two of the most dangerous spaces for seniors while also appealing to safety conscious families.
Health matters, too. Steam ovens or microwaves? In a kitchen, consider losing upper cabinets; if the client’s lifestyle does not include hosting dinners in the home, that additional storage may not been needed. It’s important to consider many factors when designing smart and sexy dwellings for baby boomers. Keep in mind that many baby boomers may not like to hear the word aging, so you may want to adjust your vocabulary accordingly in client meetings.
Real estate professionals, too, are becoming savvier to the baby boomer market, even listing some homes as “boomer ready.” And designers can help clients understand how decisions they make in their fifties will have repercussions later on. For example, ripping out plush (but unstable) carpet or a heavy microwave over an oven can prevent accidents.
Also, keep in mind that the baby boomer age group likes to hire experts and consultants for advice. So, designers should get ahead of the curve now, by educating themselves about how to meet the needs of this aging demographic that expects on-trend, chic homes that are safe and accessible for everyone.
Baby boomers are living longer and more active lifestyles and, on average, they feel nine years younger than their chronological age. So, it’s time to brush off the stigma about aging, and learn how you can design safe, healthy and stylish homes for your baby boomer clients.
To learn more, watch the recent Interior Design Community Google+ hangout, with Mitzi Beach, ASID, NCIDQ, CAPS, America’s leading expert on BoomerSmart Design and Design for Aging in Place. Beach, a published author and speaker, has more than 30 years experience in design, plus she is a baby boomer, herself. Having studied the baby boomer market extensively, Beach will share her findings in her new four-hour CEU course. The course teaches designers about top safety concerns for baby boomers and what to look for in products that will allow clients to age in the homes they love while giving baby boomers and their loved ones peace of mind.