A New Age for Senior Communities

The Baby Boomer generation is on the minds of senior living communities. But, the oldest of boomers are still years away from considering traditional senior housing—where the typical resident is over the age of 80. Rather than wait for the largest generation in the United States to age into their facilities, providers and developers are looking for opportunities to serve younger retirees.

Lutheran Homes of Oconomowoc Senior Community
The Pub at Lake Terrace Apartments, by Shorehaven. Oconomowoc, WI

Demographic Trends

Between 2009 and 2015, the number of renters in the 55-plus demographic increased by 28%, the largest increase of any age group according to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by the rental listing website RentCafe. Many of these renter retirees are flocking to typical hot spots around the country like Florida and Arizona. But not all are looking to fill their days with playing golf and watching more golf on TV from their recliner. Many want to live close to shopping, cultural activities, health care, and urban centers. Sophisticated providers have taken note and are reconsidering the traditional senior living model to now stress lifestyle over aging.

According to focus group research commissioned by Capitol Seniors Housing, a significant number of seniors want to live with like-minded individuals and take part in organized activities. Seniors want to live where the action is, and where there are multicultural and multigenerational influences. Capitol Senior Housing is branching out, for this reason, to develop ‘active living’ communities where seniors will be close to a variety of services, activities and amenities.

Senior Housing Will Respond

In other words, senior housing communities should offer residents convenience, socialization, and likeminded neighbors. Take the recent success of the Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville inspired community in Daytona Beach, Florida. The massive 6,900 home community includes a fitness center, retail area, arts and learning programs, band shell for live music, and private beachfront club for residents. But, active communities don’t exclusively mean seniors who always have booze in the blender, ready to celebrate. In the future, look for affinity branding, whether based on religion, military service, sexual orientation, ethnicity or other physcial leisure activity or intellectual interest.

The senior living market is on the cusp of the greatest influx of residents in history but how facilities plan to capture this surge will determine their success. It is up to developers and operators to provide seniors with choices for how and where they wish to age. The decision to move into these senior communities is lifestyle driven, not needs driven and the sooner facilities can cater the lifestyles that seniors want to live, the sooner, and longer, they will be able to provide service to the Baby Boomers.


Author: PRA Senior Partner Gregg Golden. Gregg co-leads PRA’s Senior Living Studio, the Hospitality Studio, and the Residential Design Stuio.

PRA Wins ASID Design Excellence Awards

Four recently-completed facilities designed by Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP (PRA) were honored by the Wisconsin Chapter of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) at the organization’s 2019 Design Excellence Awards on March 21.

Duluth Trading Company’s new headquarters in Mount Horeb, WI was given a Gold Award for the category of Office/Corporate 100,000 square feet and over. The five-story, 108,000 square foot building is designed to be an extension of Duluth Trading Company’s brand of hardworking clothes for hardworking people.

Residence by Rennes was presented a Silver Award in the Senior Living category. The 24-unit memory care community-based residential facility is an addition to an existing campus in De Pere, WI. The new addition provides a contemporary vision for the campus while supporting the Rennes Group’s level of quality care.

Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Health & Wellness Center earned a Bronze Award in the Healthcare/Medical – 100,000 square feet and over category. The 109,000 square foot facility in DeKalb, IL provides a unique combination of health and fitness in a comfortable, contemporary space.

Plum Media was presented a Bronze Award in the category of Office/Corporate 15,000 to 34,999 square feet. The project created a vibrant and eclectic new headquarters for the company in the historic, 1929 former home of the Milwaukee Casket Company.

Interior design services for these projects were provided by Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP.

Using the Greek Lifestyle as a Guide for Wellness Centers

Larry Schneider, Partner and Senior Living Planner co-presented a webinar Programming and Design for Wellness Centers for SAGE Federation on evidence-based design concepts for wellness centers. Our team of architects, designers and planners compiled the top five key take-away’s from the webinar including:

  1. Understanding Blue Zones characteristics
  2. Creating environments that promote wellness rather than care
  3. Providing wellness programming that occurs naturally
  4. Planning better use of outdoor areas for passive and active programming
  5. Lighting can dramatically increase quality of life

Wellness goes well beyond physical exercise and extends to social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, vocational and environmental well-being. We invite you to view the webinar and engage us in your next planning and design project. For more information on our Long-term Care Experience and Services contact Gregg Golden or Larry Schneider.

Creating Homelike Environments for Excellent Care

On a sunny afternoon, PRA joined staff members, City of De Pere Mayor Mike Walsh, City of Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, the Greater Green Bay Chamber ambassadors, and members of the community to celebrate the completion of the new facility, Residence by Rennes in De Pere, WI. The Assisted Living and Memory Care facility contains 24 units and represents the first of its type for the Rennes Group. After working with the Rennes Group for over 15 years on numerous projects across their various campuses, it was an honor to design this beautiful new facility to assist them in providing continued excellent care for all their residents.

Community Based Residential Facilities like Residence by Rennes represent a growing trend in Assisted Living facilities to provide care in a home-like environment. The facility consists of two 12-unit households, each organized around a courtyard. Each household has a communal living and dining space filled with light from the courtyards.

In addition to the new CBRF, two new entrance canopy additions, five additional RCAC units, and a therapy gym addition have been added to the campus. These additions provide additional amenities and enhanced design for current residents of the Rennes De Pere campus. These projects work together with the various buildings PRA has designed for the campus over the years to create a cohesive and welcoming environment for residents and guests.

Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP Announces Senior Partners

Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP (PRA) announced the promotion of four to the title of Senior Partner: Scott Kramer, Gregg Golden, Michael Sobczak, and Steven Kieckhafer.
“As a mentor to Scott, Michael, Gregg, and Steve, it’s been rewarding to see their personalities and architectural skills grow and blossom into leaders with our clients and staff,” said David Raysich, AIA, Managing Partner. “They have played a huge part in the firm’s success and I am excited about the firm’s future as they take on Senior Partnership roles.”

+ Read more

The Power of Shared Knowledge

At PRA, we encourage a very collaborative approach to each and every project. Sharing and exchanging knowledge is a powerful tool, and one we believe should be practiced regularly. So when I was asked to join a Provider Expert Work Group to discuss the development of new dementia standards and training, I agreed to join without hesitation.+ Read more