The aging population was a primary focus at last week's ALFA Conference & Expo. It's been much discussed that the 5-years-and-older group is the fastest growing demographic, and the U.S. Census Bureau predicts the 65-and-over demographic will double in the next thirty years, according to this report from ALFA.

As the baby boomer generation enters its senior years (the oldest boomers turn 65 this year), the senior living industry will be faced with new challenges and demands as it attempts to meet the needs of this healthier, wealthier, and more educated group.

Phil Lempert, a consumer expert, surveyed more than 1,000 baby boomers in the weeks prior to his presentation at the ALFA Conference.  The theme from his research is choice -- the baby boomer generation wants to feel in control and have the freedom to make their own choices about long-term care, including where and how they live their senior years.

Baby boomers are also expected to live longer than previous generations, a fact that will likely introduce greater challenges as people who live longer typically utilize more healthcare resources over time. With the geriatrics field expected to be understaffed, senior living and medical providers will need to develop innovative solutions to adequately care for aging baby boomers.