When it comes to housing amenities, seniors want it all – Viera Voice

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Updated: March 9, 2022 @ 5:51 am
A dedicated dog wash area is a popular feature in new houses for seniors. 

A dedicated dog wash area is a popular feature in new houses for seniors. 
At the recent International Builders and Kitchen and Bath Industry Shows in Orlando the take-away from extensive discussion on 55-plus housing trends was ultimately simple: when it comes to housing, seniors want it all and they want it now.
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which sponsors the massive multi-day event, seniors comprise the strongest growth segment of today’s housing market. 
Featured speaker Carolyn Morrison with Traditions of America, NAHB’s 55+ Builder of the Year, discussed the evolution of today’s retirees. With boomers leading the charge, this group will remain engaged in the workplace, with many working from home. A home office, or flex office, is not just nice, it’s a must.
“They are retired but not disconnected from the workforce,” Morrison said.
Morrison added that the pandemic served to further emphasize the need for this working space, as well as for the inclusion of a parcel delivery vestibule into home plans.
“You can get your Amazon delivery without contact,” she added. 
While the aging in place concept still favors one-floor living, second-floor bonus rooms have become popular with this market.
“You don’t have to go up there every day, but it provides additional space for visiting family and friends,” Morrison said. 
In the kitchen, the push is for restaurant-grade ovens and designer kitchens, such as GE’s new Café Collection’s Bold Ambition, which carries an interesting back story.
“The muse for the design is Iris Apfel,” said GE booth representative Allie Holtz.
Apfel, the 100-year-old style icon, seems perfectly matched for senior consumers looking for creative and stylish kitchen design. Her career includes a contract with the White House that spanned six presidents, a show of her jewelry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a Barbie doll in her image and signing up as a model with IMG Models at age 97. 
Many of GE’s Cafe appliances are particularly attractive to one and two-person households. With one large and one small section, a Cafe dishwasher offers smaller households the option of washing a few dishes. 
“We call it guilt-free wash,” said Lindsay End, who demonstrated the product at the GE booth.
Another nifty feature: All you need to do to stop the washer is knock twice on the door. 
Seniors want such bells and whistles in their homes, but they also want communities that connect them with each other and the outside world. Agrihoods, planned communities that integrate agriculture into residential neighborhoods, resonate with older buyers.
Roger Glover, principal with Cornerstone Homes, discussed his Chickahominy Falls, the 55+ community he developed as an agrihood in Virginia. 
“It’s tied to a 10-acre working farm,” said Glover. 
Owners can, if they choose, work side-by-side with professional farmers to harvest fresh produce, available to all residents through a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture program. 
In these neighborhoods, neighbors meet for farm-to-table dinners, “sip-and-savor” events and cooking demonstrations. Some of these communities also offer “garden patches” and themed plantings such as butterfly gardens. Miles of walking trails abound. 
“It is rewarding to see how much homeowners appreciate wellness features,” Glover said. 
Clubhouses in senior communities also focus on wellness of the mind and body with yoga studios, wine rooms and dog wash areas with separate entrances. Seniors may even opt to incorporate the latter as a dedicated space in their home. 
“It’s a way to recognize that pets are part of the family,” Morrison said.
When it comes to seniors, today’s housing market offers an embarrassment of riches. 

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