Pocket neighborhoods – the future of senior living

As the number of retirees continues to increase, so does the demand for housing that matches the wants and needs of seniors ages 55 or more. And what do seniors want and need? They are looking for social interactions with people their own age, they want some choice in housing options and they want to remain active. One option that is becoming popular around the United States is pocket neighborhoods. With a small footprint and easy access to senior services, pocket neighborhoods often check all the boxes for senior housing.

What is a pocket neighborhood?

Pocket neighborhoods are planned communities featuring multiple single-family homes or duplexes centralized around services and community spaces. Each home is designed with style, affordability and ease of maintenance in mind. Homes are built in close proximity to shared resources, such as a community center, activities facility or green space.

Ranging from just 1,000 to 1,500 square feet, these single-family homes are much smaller than the average 2,500 square foot home. While intentionally small, pocket neighborhood homes are big in convenience. Because they are designed and positioned to build a sense of community, seniors who choose them as an independent living option have ample opportunity to visit neighbors and take advantage of shared services, conveniences and activities they may not otherwise have access to, all while enjoying privacy and independence.

Benefits of pocket neighborhoods

There are the initial benefits of pocket neighborhoods, such as access to services and common spaces, and then there are the deeper, more meaningful benefits. By building an intentional neighborhood for seniors who are invested in the idea of building a thriving community, you can create a sense of belonging and ownership for those who reside there. Truly, the benefits of pocket neighborhoods for seniors are three-fold:

  • Physical. By placing homes in close proximity to services and activities, the ability for seniors to participate in activities increases and enhances their independence.
  • Emotional. By developing a sense of community, pocket neighborhoods bring people together who would otherwise be isolated.
  • Mental. Being part of engaging conversations and participating in activities help seniors stay alert and maintain cognitive function.

Many retirees may not have family living close by. Pocket communities curb the sense of isolation and disconnectedness seniors may feel and replace it with feelings of closeness and community.

Pocket neighborhood design – an emerging market

While still a relatively new concept, pocket neighborhoods are popping up across the country. Indiana, Washington, California and Massachusetts have developed communities in rural, urban and/or suburban settings. And, while a sense of community is important, so is a sense of style and function. And today’s retirees are looking for more—more  style, more accommodations and more attention to independent living design. With attention to style, placement and planning, pocket neighborhoods can be designed as a single community or as individual pockets within larger community, as long as all seniors have access to the same services, activities and sense of community.

By creating an inner space with no public roads that traverse the neighborhood, communities feature sidewalk-lined homes that lead to front porches for visits and encourage walking to community activities or services. To enhance privacy, bathrooms and bedrooms are generally placed at the back of the home.

Which seniors are best suited for pocket neighborhoods?

While pocket neighborhoods are beneficial to all ages, their connectedness and availability of services make them exceptionally suited for retirees who enjoy:

  • Easy access to living services
  • Independence and privacy
  • A sense of community

However, pocket neighborhoods are not the best-fit solution for seniors in need of memory care or assisted living services. 

Learn more about pocket neighborhood solutions for seniors

At Community Living Solutions, we specialize in creating senior living communities that meet the evolving needs of seniors. By partnering with senior living providers and developers, our caring team is devoted to providing our clients with the expertise needed to serve aging communities.

To learn more about our solutions or how you can make pocket neighborhoods part of your aging community, complete our contact form or call 920-969-9344.