Retirement communities reinvent themselves for fit baby boomers
Don Kovac inserts a key, turns the lock and steps back in time. The one-bedroom, one-bath unit built in the 1960s has low ceilings, a small kitchen, little closets and 557 square feet — reflecting a generation that didn't require much space in retirement.
This is not what the baby boomers want in a retirement community. They want big kitchens with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances, walk-in closets, showers instead of tubs (unless they are Jacuzzis), wall space for flat-screen TVs and wireless Internet access.
And this is why Lutheran Haven in Oviedo is part of a national trend that finds retirement communities reinventing themselves for the next generation of retirees, the "silver tsunami" of Americans just now entering their 60s.
"The baby boomers want fitness, dining and fellowship," said Kovac, executive director of Lutheran Haven. "We have no fitness equipment. We have a horseshoe pit nobody uses and a shuffleboard court. I don't think the boomers are going to want a shuffleboard court."
Elsewhere, retirement communities are linking with universities to attract college-educated boomers interested in lifelong learning. Glen Meadows, in Glen Arm, Md., boasts of becoming the first in the nation to offer "Masterpiece Living" — a program that stresses social, physical, spiritual and intellectual fulfillment.