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Author: Kelsi Maree Borland

Featured: Felicia Hyde, Principal/Design Director, H. Hendy Associates

Design firm Hendy is beginning to get more active senior living proposals.

Design firm Hendy is beginning to get more senior living proposals. The senior demographic is rapidly growing, but seniors today are staying active and social into later years of life. The dynamic has sparked a new demand for luxury active senior living communities akin to a resort-style hotel, and developers are running with it. While there has been a lot of talk about demand for these communities, the pipeline is now rapidly growing.

“We are getting more and more proposals for senior living,” Felicia Hyde, design director at Hendy, tells “That trend is on super speed because of the amount of seniors that there are. The over-65-year-old renter grew by 43% in the last decade, and it is expected to triple by 2035. We have a huge boomer population that wants to down size, and they want the same quality of life that all of these multifamily properties are providing.”

These properties don’t look anything like senior living has in the past. They are resort-style communities packed with amenity spaces. “When we say senior living, we are not talking about nursing homes,” says Hyde. “We are talking about high-end luxury apartment buildings for active adults. These seniors are very young and active, and they are looking for a property with a social aspect and a communal feel. These properties have build-outs similar to boutique hotels with services.” A recent Hendy project proposed on had 60,000 square feet of amenity space, for example—which included a full-service dining room, beauty salon and coffee bar. By comparison, most luxury multifamily projects that Hendy works on have closer to 16,000 square feet of amenity space.

Not only are seniors in the facilities more active, they are also older. “The average age for residents in the facilities is an 84-year-old woman, and the beginning age is 65 with the average move-in age of 75,” adds Hyde. “California has the largest number of elderly, while Florida has the largest percentage. This is the reason to capitalize on senior living now.”

While senior living is, of course, not a new concept, the demand for services, amenities and design has changed. As a result, most of these projects are ground-up construction built for active seniors with an assisted living arm of the property.