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Senior Housing’s Double Impact
This article by Catherine J. Barrier was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
March 3, 1999. All rights reserved.
Global aging is coming to a head. By next year, throughout
industrial countries, people over 60 will outnumber those 14 or younger.
The burgeoning elderly population will greatly impact both the world’s
environment and its economy, as it already is beginning to do in Central
One particular area being impacted by this demographic change is the
building industry. A new wave of senior housing is already rolling
in, depositing throughout the region not only new housing structures
but also innovative housing ideas.
On Monday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m., the Central Jersey Builders Association
(CJBA) will present a seminar entitled "We’re Not Old, We’re Just
Getting Older: the new housing wave for an aging population."
Scheduled for the Holiday Inn, just off of Exit 8A of the New Jersey
Turnpike, the seminar will include Joe Guidice of Jopari International
Ltd., formerly with Daily News in New York; David Wolff of Real
Estate Diagnostics, and Cathy Daly of Design East Inc. Guidice,
as the council’s president, will discuss the reasons for the creation
of the New Jersey State Senior Housing Council and talk about the
present state of the senior housing market. Wolff will speak from
a market consulting standpoint, and Daly will offer suggestions on
how the housing models should be decorated, depending on the segment
of the market being targeted. Cost: $45. Call: 732-968-4744.
Guidice is a graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey, Class of ’85,
and a member of the board of directors of CJBA since 1990. The CJBA
is covers Middlesex and Union counties (44 Stelton Road, Suite 210,
Piscataway 08854. 732-968-4744; fax, 732-968-8968). "There are
other locals throughout the state," says Guidice. "It doesn’t
matter what type of product they build, whether they build multi-family,
single-family, or senior housing."
The CJBA decided to create a statewide New Jersey senior housing council
a few year ago, because, says Guidice, there was no organization for
builders or associates to go to get information on that segment of
the market. "We’re basically there to provide information to people
in the industry about that segment of the market."
The council already has grown to become a regional council, "even
though the name’s still the same," Guidice says. "We have
members in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. As we’ve
provided information to our builders, we’ve found out that the other
states have the same problems, that their local organizations, or
even their state organizations, don’t give them the information they
need on that segment."
The New Jersey State Senior Housing Council is the largest statewide
organization of senior housing in the country. And it’s even received
national recognition. A few years ago it put together a symposium
on aging that the White House acknowledged as a White House conference
on the aging. Last November, a representative from the National Council
on Senior Housing came to a New Jersey meeting "to find out exactly
why we’ve been so successful. What they want is to create a prototype
organization that they can take to other markets instead of testing
it," says Guidice.
New Jersey builders face a particular challenge. "We don’t have
available land that they have in other parts of the country,"
says Guidice. "I think you’re going to be finding more of those
three- and four-story type structures to allow more homes on less
land and increase the density." New Jersey’s population is growing
two-fold. "So you have that age population that’s growing. In
addition to that, you have the immigrants adding to that growth and
that population segment," explains Guidice.
Two things in particular contribute to the changes in senior housing
along the U.S.1 corridor:
work from home . These facts impact the senior housing in the area.
"Even the structures themselves are being geared toward the non-retired
working person that’s living in these age-restricted communities,"
explains Guidice. More people are looking for an age-restricted community
with a full amenities package offering, among other items, an office,
fax, and modem.
because they miss their families and friends and — apart from
the climate — they prefer the lifestyle in New Jersey. More and
more seniors choose to spend three or four months in Florida and to
seek housing in New Jersey for the rest of the year.
The CJBA holds regular monthly meetings each second Monday of the
month. In addition, there are four or five educational breakfast meetings
and one or two major activities per year. For a breakfast in May,
Guidice hopes to offer a panel with a mayor, a borough engineer, and
a builder who have gotten together and actively brought senior housing
to a community.
Other events: bus tours. "Seniors can spend a full day looking
at only three communities, because you can’t make an intelligent decision
getting in and out of a community in five or ten minutes and getting
a brochure. It’s too confusing!" says Guidice.
With global aging a reality, the population increasing, and land in
limited supply, senior housing in New Jersey becomes an interesting
challenge. "We have to look at increasing the density of our product,"
says Guidice. "In other words, downsize the people from the homes
that they’re in without downgrading their lifestyle."
— Catherine J. Barrier
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