Technology is threatening the once booming senior housing market.
Advancements in technology, such as sensors that respond to medical conditions and adjustable fixtures, have increased the possibility for the elderly to remain in their homes.
Previously, developers and senior-housing companies invested billions of dollars into this sector under the impression that the demand for senior housing would be high with the aging baby-boomer generation.
However, it appears that seniors would prefer to remain near their families rather than with the elderly population. “People don’t want to go to a place where there’s only a bunch of other old people,” said James Crispino, Head of Health and Wellness at design firm Gensler.
This belief has driven much of the investment in “aging-in-place” technologies, which advocates think will help seniors live a more independent lifestyle.
Nevertheless, the senior housing market remains strong despite the rising competition. According to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC), 21,332 new senior housing apartment homes were added in 2018, making it one of the fastest-growing commercial real estate sectors.
Additionally, supporters of senior housing believe that technology cannot fix everything. “Loneliness has a negative impact that can’t be solved by technology,” said Cindy Baier, Chief Executive of Brookdale Senior Living Inc., which owns and manages about 800 senior-housing communities.