December 5, 2018

A growing trend in housing for senior citizens, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) offer a tiered approach to the aging process. Part independent living, part assisted living and part skilled nursing facility, CCRCs give older adults the option to live in the same community for the duration of their lives, with much of their future care determined. Currently, most residents of CCRCs were born a generation before baby boomers. With baby boomers entering retirement at a vast rate, it’s significantly increasing the need for senior housing.

The largest generation in U.S. history with over 77 million people born between 1946 and 1964, the baby boomer demographic is only rivaled by the millennial generation, which is roughly the same size. Given the generational divide, baby boomers and millennials tend to value different things. On the one hand, you have boomers who typically wish to stay in their homes longer, while on the other you have millennials who tend to be attracted to activities and amenities. So, what does this have to do with CCRCs? In an ever-changing senior-housing landscape, it means they have to reinvent themselves in order to become a viable choice for the next generation and beyond.

In this post, I share a sneak preview of how Gresham Smith is helping one of the Tampa Bay area’s CCRCs transform its amenity spaces to do just that.


Out with the Old, In with the New

Canterbury Tower is a premier “boutique” Continuing Care Retirement Community located on South Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard, home to million-dollar residences and luxury high-rise condominium buildings. The community is comprised of independent living units, with a floor dedicated to skilled nursing and a newly added assisted living unit.

As with many CCRCs, the amenities—including sewing rooms, libraries and billiards tables—are old-fashioned and outdated, and cater in both look and feel to the current generation of older adults as opposed to baby boomers—a selective bunch who are healthier and more active than their predecessors. Boomers are demanding an alternative to current senior housing, especially when it comes to amenity spaces.

Our team is reimaging the first floor of Canterbury Tower so the spaces are more intergenerational and appeal to the next generation of potential residents by providing resort-style surroundings and amenities:


The new amenities will include a large social room replete with a grand piano and magnificent views overlooking Tampa Bay, creating a focal point for the community.


Located just off the social room, a large movie room with stepped seating and oversized furniture will provide residents with a home-theater experience. The space can be transformed into a virtual gaming lounge in the future.


The gym is being repurposed to have a more direct connection with the garden and main corridor while being enlarged to allow for yoga classes.


The café will be relocated so it’s visible from the main corridor. This new location will create a natural gathering spot for residents as well as visitors.


Each space was designed to adapt to changing population needs. For example, a library for physical books is being built for today’s residents but can easily be transformed into a virtual library with computers and lounge furniture.


Boom or Bust

With amenities ranking as a high priority with baby boomers, traditional retirement communities with dated aesthetics are becoming increasingly unpopular. That is why it’s important for CCRCs to refresh their brand as well as their buildings to attract new residents. It is also key that they focus on community outreach in terms of changing the mindset about what this next “generation” of CCRCs truly encompass, which is a lifestyle choice that offers retirees a change of perspective on life.