For a glimpse into the future of retirement communities and — pardon the odious term — “senior housing,” you couldn’t do much better than to ask Robert Kramer. He and several partners got together in 1991 to launch what has become the leading trade group for this industry, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC), based in Annapolis, Md. And he has been a revered authority on this subject ever since.
Kramer, who first got involved in this field in the early 1980s, turned over the CEO post at NIC to a younger colleague last July. Now that he’s “unretired” and a NIC adviser, I spoke with Kramer about what he sees ahead for retirement housing and the challenges developers face to make their communities and facilities more inviting to older Americans.
Boomers will change retirement housing
In short, Kramer believes boomers, some of whom are now in their early 70s, will transform the industry, which now includes more than 23,000 professionally-managed senior housing and nursing care communities.
“We’re entering a time of disruptive innovation. The basic business model and system will be radically disrupted,” he told me. “My job is figuring out the people and the idea trends that will disrupt the sector in a positive way.” Now that’s a cool job!
Probably the first thing the boomers will do will be to force the industry to abandon the word “senior.” The term is an anathema to this generation.