Boomers look to communities that provide connection
According to an article in which BUILDER Magazine cites a study by mega-55+community builder Shea Homes, baby boomers are out to make new friends in retirement, and many are willing to relocate to do that.
The older people get, the more challenging it can be to make friends, and that’s especially true after retirement, as work is one of the most common ways to meet people. Another article in the Chicago Tribune cites research from the Stanford Center on Longevity. It reveals that of all the age groups, baby boomers show the most signs of disengaging from traditional modes of social relationships, according to Laura Carstensen, founding director of the center and a psychology professor at Stanford University.
For people who move far distances after retirement, making new friends can be doubly difficult because they may not know anyone in their new town. The Shea Homes study, which surveyed more than 1,000 home shoppers above the age of 50 nationwide, said 46% stated their social network has dwindled due to friends moving from their neighborhood. More than 60% responded that would like to live in a community where they know their neighbors.
In the same national proprietary study, more than 55% of participants feel that activities and programming within a community club are more important than the size and list of amenities offered inside the building. Active adult communities’ goals include helping with “lifestyle programming” — creating experiences that result in new relationships through not only clubhouse events and small group interests but also travel programs, such as trips to national parks, tropical islands, and European river cruises. Music is also part of the agenda, with 55+ communities such as Arizona’s Trilogy Resort community Encanterra hosting all-star line-ups of boomer favorites such as Chicago, The Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Beach Boys, Heart, and Foreigner.
Scientific American cites research that says social ties can boost survival by 50%. It adds that the older people get, the more challenging it can be to make friends —especially true after retirement. Social isolation can leave individuals more prone to illness, according to the article.