Developments of any kind tend to generate controversy in the suburbs. But as developers race to fill the housing needs of a rapidly growing market of aging baby boomers, one of the latest cries of ``not in my backyard'' is being directed at Grandma and Grandpa.


One recent example from StarTribune - Senior Housing Sparks Clashes in Excelsior


Rental housing becomes a more predominant choice as seniors’ care needs rise or they no longer desire to maintain a single family home.  A common scenario today is for younger seniors to choose a modern new facility to move into and then age in place at that facility. Instead of retiring to the sunbelt, today’s seniors are moving to where their adult children are living. 


Because assisted-living facilities are frequently located in residential neighborhoods, nearby property owners sometimes worry.  They worry about the scale of the buildings - they worry about increasing density, property values, or traffic problems. 


However, as the demand for senior housing increases, communities are creatively responding with senior residences that reflect the needs and preferences of today’s senior citizens and discovering that they make very good neighbors indeed. Communities are finding that residential developments for seniors actually deliver a lot of positive benefits, including:


  1. Enable residents to age in place; the city retains responsible, engaged citizens.
  2. Make a strong contribution to the tax base.
  3. Add stable population without overburdening school systems.
  4. Provide additional customers for local businesses.
  5. Attract adult children and their families to area retail, entertainment and shopping areas.
  6. Offer opportunities for intergenerational relationships and volunteer engagements.
  7. Generate new, steady jobs for local residents. 
  8. Open aging housing stock to younger residents who upgrade and improve property.
  9. Enhance property values. Professional management keeps property clean, tidy and well-maintained.
  10. Have a low-intensity impact on the area and protect the property from future development as industrial/high-intensity uses.


So next time a proposal for senior residential development comes to your community, don’t worry.  Go to the neighborhood meeting and vote “Yes”.


Photo credit:  "Star Tribune, 9/17/16"