We all know that many Santa Barbara and Montecito property searchers are looking for homes with more modern, high tech-compatible features. But something that is also interesting is evidence that the trend has broadened to include retirees who are in a downsizing, property-searching frame of mind.
From wireless availability to health monitoring systems, technology is one of the key hot buttons in the senior housing industry. "Many people are trading older houses for new [properties] that offer energy efficiency, great rooms, open floor plans,” according to Jane O'Connor, a specialist who studies trends in the 55-plus population.
Although earlier studies found that most baby boomers preferred to stay in their current home as long as possible, those times are a-changin’. That attitude may have been typical for most of the last 50 or 60 years, but perhaps due to skyrocketing energy prices over the past few years, willingness to downsize and move is growing among retirement aged advocates.
As the publisher of Mature Living Choices magazine, O’Connor suggests other contributing reasons. “Boomers…were the first generation to question authority. They changed everything they touched, from the creation of suburbs to mini-mansions.” Today’s retirees are also strong entrants into the virtual communities that the social networking explosion has created. They are using e-book readers, tablets, and other digital technology -- including online services like Skype and other video chat enablers. A decade ago, members of the senior sector were generally considered to be interested in (but in need of instruction regarding) the latest electronic communication devices. No longer. Especially given how particularly useful the new gizmos are for keeping in touch with children and relatives in other states, more tech-savvy seniors consider strong cable and internet access absolute necessities.
It seems like just yesterday when it was principally the 20-somethings who were wired. The senior population today can be nearly as high-tech as their offspring, and – when the time arrives to begin a Santa Barbara property search at the start of retirement - they expect to continue. It’s no wonder that assisted living facilities, retirement communities and nursing homes are also being required to have all the amenities of today’s connected world.
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