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Could This Be the Model for Attracting Younger Residents?

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By Steve Moran

The Wall Street Journal (paywall warning) on Monday, May 13, tells the story of Nancy Cox -- who was a buyer for Macy’s to age 34, then became the full-time mom of 4 sons. At age 60, she and her husband purchased a summer home in Lake Placid, New York.  

At home in Baltimore, she took fitness classes and was an avid skier; however, she was inspired to try ice skating, something she had not done as a kid. She describes the idea of dancing on two knives on ice as pretty intimidating.

She hired a coach in Lake Placid, and then in Baltimore. She is now 66, and each summer she returns to Lake Placid to attend two weeks of adult ice skating camp. She does this in spite of falls and a broken shoulder.

While in Lake Placid, she skates two nights a week with the skating club. One day a week she takes lessons with a private coach, and one morning she skates with an adult group known as the Coffee Club.

In Baltimore, she skates even more.   

What’s this Got to Do with Senior Living?

Today, as senior living exists -- and likely this is true even in CCRCs where arguably the residents are younger and more active -- it seems improbable that you would find a resident doing something like this. It's even less likely that it would be programmed into the official life enrichment program.  

After all . . . senior living is about safety and security. Ice skating at any age -- let alone 60+ -- is the antithesis of safety.

But what if someone created a senior living community like GoPro or Red Bull for older people -- those individuals who really like pushing the extremes. I have this vision of a CCRC or independent living community where the life enrichment program might include ice skating, skydiving, white water rafting, kiteboarding, surfing, backpacking trips, snowshoeing, and scuba diving.  

And -- in that context -- these residents would not have to mess with things like meal prep, cleaning, maintenance, and yard care . . . unless they actually wanted to. Most importantly because as one ages, it becomes tougher to find kindred spirits for these kinds of activities, therefore, this would be an amazing pull.

I could see someone like Nancy Cox saying, "That is the kind of senior living community I am ready to move into at 66 or 70 or 75!"

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