Turning hotels into seniors’ residences: can this solve the space problem for aging baby boomers?

Advances in science and health care allow people to live longer and healthier lives than ever before. It’s great on an individual level, but it presents an interesting challenge for the population as a whole.

According to the United Nations, one in six people will be over 65 by 2050, compared to one in eleven in 2019. Even today, the youngest of the Baby Boomer generation (those born after the Second World War until the 60s) are approaching the average age of 70 and over. This aging trend in the world’s population has resulted in a historically high need for elderly care, especially in relation to housing for the elderly.

In this article, we’ll look at how hotels can help meet the space needs of aging baby boomers by looking at:

  • The problem of an aging population
  • How hotel transformations could help solve the needs of the elderly
  • Advantages and disadvantages of converting hotels into retirement homes

The problem of an aging population

The problem of an aging population is not a complicated problem on its own (we all know that people age over time), but the challenges it poses for senior housing can be difficult to solve.

Let’s first look at the demand side of the equation. A 2019 study by ING estimated that demand for housing for the elderly in the EU will increase by 5.5% per year until 2030. While it is great that this increase in demand means that our people seniors are living longer and have the financial means to afford housing in their later years. , such a constant increase in demand can be difficult to manage.

This increase in demand also highlights the main problem facing the senior housing market: supply. Existing senior living options can only absorb a portion of this increased demand, and new construction continues to lag. Essentially, the problem of an aging population turns into a problem of housing supply.

Fortunately, investors are already finding ways to address this lack of supply.

How hotel transformations could help solve the needs of the elderly

One method that investors see as a potential solution to the lack of supply in the seniors’ housing market is to turn hotels into seniors’ resorts. Although it might seem like a strange idea at first, the deeper you dig, the more it makes sense.

The hospitality industry in Europe, like everywhere else in the world, was hit hard at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued to be affected by the war in Ukraine and rising inflation. Although many hotels have started to rebound and the hotel industry as a whole is on an upward trend, these tough hurdles have highlighted that some hotel properties may not be the highest and best utilization. for their location. These properties, although no longer viable options for hotel investment, offer an attractive opportunity for senior housing.

Hotel conversions make sense for senior residences, as many of them already offer the same amenities and accessibility that senior residences typically offer. Many hotels already accommodate people with reduced mobility, have kitchens capable of cooking for large groups at a time, and share common areas that can be used for group activities. Hotels are also often located close to hospitals, along major roads and offer ample parking for visitors.

While not all hotels are a viable option for a retirement home conversion, they present a unique opportunity for investors who are willing to undergo the due diligence necessary for a profitable investment. Converting hotels into senior housing offers a viable alternative to development from scratch that can be more profitable (or involve less risk) under the right circumstances.

Advantages and disadvantages of converting hotels into retirement homes

As with any adaptive reuse project, there are a number of pros and cons that potential investors should consider before undertaking a full renovation on an existing property. We’ve highlighted some of the main pros and cons of converting a hotel into a retirement home below.


If stability is an investor’s goal, senior housing is hard to beat. Unlike the hotel industry, which fluctuates throughout the year and is influenced by external events, the retirement home industry is relatively stable. As the number of older people in the population continues to grow, this stability will likely increase.

Another advantage of repurposing hotel space in a senior housing project is that it will likely be cheaper and faster than developing from scratch. While development from scratch requires putting infrastructure in place and erecting walls, a conversion project gives investors the opportunity to improve on what already exists. Instead of building an entirely new property, investors can renovate an existing property and get it up and running in less time.

Finally, the conversion of a hotel into a residence for the elderly can also have a positive impact on the community in which it is located. service needed by the local population. A hotel conversion will also likely increase the assessed value of the property, providing more tax revenue to local municipalities.

The inconvenients

Although there are many advantages to turning a hotel into a retirement home, there are also disadvantages.

For starters, this type of conversion project can present many physical challenges. Since the project is confined to the boundaries of an existing building, many modifications are simply not possible. Widening wheelchair aisles, reconfiguring room layouts, and relocating amenities and common areas will all be difficult (if not impossible) changes to make. Conversion projects also tend to uncover unseen problems with the property, leading to unforeseen expenses for the investor. This is why it is essential for investors to vet hotel properties thoroughly before starting a conversion project to confirm that the property meets the requirements for an easy and economical transformation.

Another disadvantage of converting a hotel into a retirement home is having to deal with a zoning change. Depending on the location and the municipality, changing the zoning of a property can be a long and complicated process. Pursuing a zoning change after the property is purchased also adds another level of risk to the project, as the application could be denied.

While not technically a risk, a major downside to this type of project is that it can be difficult to find a place and assign value to the end product. Due to the likelihood that there are few comparable conversion projects in a given area, investors, banks and potential future buyers may have difficulty agreeing on the value of the property. This is where the expertise and insight of Titans RE can be particularly beneficial.


The information provided above should give you a better understanding of how hotels can be used to meet the growing need for senior housing. While not all properties are an option, and not all investors want to tackle such a project, turning hotels into seniors’ residences is a viable strategy.

If you would like to learn more about adaptive reuse opportunities for hotels, the experienced team at Titans RE would be happy to help.

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