There’s a mindset among today’s Boomer generation, those aged 55-73 this year, that “old” is something still far off into the future. Most Boomers tell us they think they’ll live to 95 or 100 years old, and won’t officially enter old age until they are north of 80.

It’s no wonder Elton John announced his three-year long “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour” at the age of 71. He says he’s not retiring, just not touring (once he reaches age 74) to spend more time with his young children. He’s not old or retiring. Just reprioritizing.

It’s clear Boomers are transforming this stage of life.

This not-yet-old mindset could explain why Boomers don’t appear to be rushing into retirement communities, continuing care retirement communities, assisted living facilities or practically anywhere else where “old” people inhabit. The reasoning? Boomers say, “Those places are for old people and I’m not old yet.”

But they still need a place to live and a new type of residency option is popping up across America: wellness communities. Fast Company has an interesting piece on Serenbe located thirty miles outside of Atlanta. They report some 350 wellness communities in development today.

Wellness communities come in all forms, from high rises to farm-like communities like Serenbe. The common attributes are a more walkable community, with emphasis on physical, mental, social, and spiritual health and wellness. For years we’ve been telling organizations that the mantra for Boomers going forward is “viva la vital,” or “long live the vital.”

Communities organized around this mindset will be the ones that attract Boomers as residents.

One important aspect of Serenbe, and the communities we think will be tomorrow’s winners, is that they are inter-generational, not age-segmented. The days are gone when those over 65 uproot from some northern climate to move to Florida and disengage from society. That’s not the future for Boomers. They’ve spent their lives creating a real life social network, and they don’t want to abandon it just because they’ve reached this stage of life.

This means the future for communities is to find ways to appeal to all ages, not just young singles, or families, or retirees. All ages want to be in communities where they can live, work, play, and have access to retail and services all within a short walk or drive (which we’ve already covered).

Those in the senior living space need to open their eyes to new opportunities, and follow those Boomers. They are transformational.