Senior Living Gets Luxurious

As baby boomers become senior boomers, the need for senior living communities is growing. So developers are tapping into the market by looking at more amenities and perks to attract future residents.

Ventana by Buckner, a new high-rise project, will open just south of NorthPark Center in 2018. As with other new communities, Buckner is working to differentiate from other senior living options.

“We are going to have so many seniors without enough places for them to move,” said Mary Greer, marketing director of Ventana.

in the area

Here are just a few senior living options in proximity to the Park Cities.

  • Windsor Senior Living
  • Meadowstone Place
  • Sunrise at Hillcrest
  • The Forum at Park Lane
  • Monticello West
  • Edgemere
  • Caruth Haven Court
  • Belmont Village Senior Living – Turtle Creek

Couples are looking for senior living communities at younger ages, said Greer, with the average age of people who have already signed up for Ventana being 74.

Many communities have a waiting list, and starting the search early can mean less of a hassle when it comes time to make the big move. As more people begin looking around at a younger age, new communities eliminate the need for newcomers to wait for an opening.

More than ever, developers are considering amenities during the design process. Rather than the current live-work-play model that’s popular on mixed-use projects, developers working on senior living communities focus more on just the live-play aspects.

Communities like Ventana gear toward a resort-style atmosphere. While each is different, both offer similar features, such as inclusive services, restaurant-style dining, state-of-the-art fitness centers, indoor pool and spas, and more.

The living components of these communities have also been changing.

“There had to be more of a merger of apartments, housing component, the medical component, and the social component,” said James Stroud, founder and CEO of Stroud Companies, a real-estate firm focused on senior living. “We are not a real estate business, we are an operating business, caring for seniors and their needs.”

Stroud gears projects toward an aspect he called person-centered care. Rather than focusing on the building, Stroud’s company determines what the residents’ interests are, and what their physical abilities are, and provides the programming to enhance those needs.

According to Stroud, the previous trend in senior living communities was to construct one large neighborhood. Current trends reflect those seen in university housing. Communities are being divided into separate neighborhoods with residential wings and a common area in a dormitory setup.

Ventana, which will be a 12-story high-rise, will be set up for a maximum of 12 apartments on each floor, reflecting this neighborhood trend.

Along with the many all-inclusive, resort-style amenities, Ventana features another trend: a guarantee of care.

“You’ll never be asked to leave,” said Greer. “We take care of you even after you’ve outlived your means. It’s a very broad, different spectrum of opportunity here.”

Jonathan Perlman, founder and CEO of Tradition Senior Living, which recently opened the Tradition – Lovers Lane, said residents still emphasize the basic needs for a senior living community: safety and security, assisted living, and memory care.

“Some [communities] are fairly old and are being redeveloped” to keep up with changing trends, Perlman said.

Most communities are designed for independent seniors who are still able to perform everyday functions without assistance. However, to keep up with the future needs of residents, communities are including wings, floors, or buildings devoted to assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care, and on-site rehabilitation facilities.

“It’s about having something that’s going to fit different peoples’ tastes,” said Greer.

This story appears in the November issue of Park Cities People, on stands now.

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