New Acronym Sustainable Housing for Ageless Generations Kicks Off 30th Anniversary with New Vision

The most compelling issue facing older adults is determining where they will live with stability, quality and meaning throughout this period of life. When SHAG was founded three decades ago, it led the way for low to moderate-income seniors by creating a wonderful apartment lifestyle specifically for their needs. SHAG provided, and still does, a home to count on and vibrant community to enjoy. As an entire generation has elapsed and SHAG enters its 30th year, it again redefines retirement as it brings fresh meaning to the SHAG acronym. SHAG formerly stood for the Senior Housing Assistance Group, now it is Sustainable Housing for Ageless Generations.

“We are not changing our organization’s name – we will continue to be called SHAG, which is how the public has known us for 30 years. Rather, we are bringing new meaning to our name to match where we are going and what matters to the upcoming generation of retirees,” said Jay Woolford, SHAG Executive Director.

Retirees wish to be recognized as continuing to be vital and contributing to society as they have throughout their lives. “Ageless Generations” resonates with and appeals to this desire. Moreover, “ageless” recognizes diversity. It looks beyond chronological age, physical and mental ability to real issues such as health, social participation and independence so that people reap the most benefit from living at a SHAG community.

SHAG residents helped to direct this change.SHAG conducted focus groups across its communities, and in speaking with current and prospective residents, asked what the words “affordable” and “sustainable” meant to them.The majority believed that “affordable” related to an individual’s own circumstances -- “What may be affordable to you is not necessarily affordable to me.”In contrast, they perceived “sustainable” as “do-able,” regardless of an individual’s circumstances. The term was understood in its sense of long-term feasibility, with positive connotations about their ability to continue in their individual housing situations.

Earlier SHAG redefined its acronym to better express the organization’s purpose. At its founding in 1988, SHAG stood for “State Housing Assistance Group.”As the company evolved it became clear serving older adults would be the primary mission; in 1997 the revised definition “Senior Housing Assistance Group” was adapted. Now, 20 years later with making the shift to “Sustainable Housing for Ageless Generations,” SHAG is carrying out its tradition of embracing change to successfully move forward with the baby-boomer generation.

“The “Silver Tsunami” is coming, and with it comes different wants and needs indicative of a new generation.These retirees are more active and fit, more social and have higher expectations.They want to be stimulated and continue to learn and grow and we at SHAG are here to support these changes,” adds Woolford.

Many residents will remain in the workforce.SHAG’s housing niche has now become a more mainstream need.Fortunately, SHAG can fulfill it with an established, trusted brand and a positive association of price to value, active lifestyles and a strong sense of community. The newly defined acronym is essential to this success.