I receive comments all the time from people who have never visited the St Pete-Tampa Bay area or even Florida concerning the average OLD age of the residents. The average age in cities around here runs from 34 to 43 and the median age of all Florida residents is 38. Last night as I drove home from the Dali Like-Alike Contest at 9:30 pm, I would have thought the average age was younger. All the sidewalk cafes, restaurants, theatres, streets & various music venues were filled with people ranging from 18-50 something. You see, it is warm here in February & we have lots of outdoor activities. The 4th annual Dali Look-Alike Contest was awesome with participants & audience ranging in age from 5-80. (Photos to follow soon.)

By reading the following article it looks like now the waiting room for heaven will be moving up to St Louis. Excellent article to read even if you are not a boomer-you might be related to one. It seems to me that they are thinking of everything retired or partial retired baby boomers might need or want, except for those cold, snowy winters. Ah, I think I’ll just stay right here in sunny Florida. Thanks, though.

 

As baby boomers retire, senior housing adapts

from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | February 11, 2011

Tim Bryant

Feb. 11, 2011 (McClatchy-Tribune Regional News delivered by Newstex) — The vanguard of America’s 76 million baby boomers just turned 65, and a big question looms: Where will they live when they retire?

Local developers hope to have the answer and to profit from the surge of aging Americans through senior housing that will redefine the “old folks home.” At least $320 million in such housing is under way in the St. Louis area, according to estimates.

“We’re blowing up the stereotype that people go to a nursing home to die,” said John Kotovsky, president and chief executive of Lutheran Senior Services, which has six senior communities in the St. Louis region.

Gone are the tile floors, dim hallways and big, impersonal dining rooms common in retirement homes 20 years ago. Replacing them is the “person-centered care model” that features homey, carpeted rooms and small dining facilities with adjoining kitchens, Kotovsky said.

“The old institutional model of care that nursing homes were based on is one that is not very attractive anymore to many older Americans,” he said. “It feels like a hospital.”

Helping fuel the growth of senior housing is the gradually improving housing market, which is allowing boomers to more readily sell their homes to pay for a senior-living residence.

The largest of the new St. Louis projects is Aberdeen Heights, scheduled to open in September on the former St. Joseph Hospital site in Kirkwood. The $179 million project will have 243 apartments.

Like other new senior complexes, Aberdeen Heights will offer “continuum of care” from independent living, to assisted living to skilled nursing facilities, said Scott Polzin, executive of the development, which is owned by Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America. He said the average age of residents moving to such facilities is rising from the late 70s to about 83.

“People are living longer and staying home a bit longer,” he said.

‘FOCUS ON WELLNESS’

Still, millions of boomers will yield to age eventually and move to a modern nursing home. Successful developers will anticipate the demands of boomers who won’t consider themselves old, Polzin said.

“The industry is seeing a focus on wellness,” he said. “There’s a focus on healthier diets, fitness classes and lectures.”

Younger boomers are more likely than their parents to move after they retire, studies show. An AARP study found that many boomers don’t move far.

For example, current Kirkwood residents will fill about 80 of the 210 apartments that will be occupied when Aberdeen Heights opens this fall, Polzin said.

Some projects under construction are a mixture of market-rate and low-income units. Among them is Lutheran Senior Services’ Mackenzie Place project at the former Affton High School. The old school is being renovated as 32 apartments. Two buildings under construction on the site will complete the project of more than 100 apartments.

COUNCIL TOWER

Among the low-income senior housing projects under way is a renovation of the 27-story Council Tower, on South Grand Boulevard next to St. Louis University. Work began after developer Brian Bruce of Clayton bought the largely vacant building in December. A two-year, $40 million renovation of the building’s 226 apartments is planned. The project will restore the eastern facade, where decorative bricks fell off in 2007.

James Heard, St. Louis field office director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the rehabbed apartments will allow Council Tower, built in the late 1960s, to compete with newer senior housing developments.

“It’s going to very nice,” he said.

The apartments will be financed partly through bonds bought by the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, a HUD-backed mortgage, state and federal low-income housing tax credits and state and federal historic tax credits.

Across the country, boomers who no longer have children to care for will downsize to easy-to-maintain retirement homes they can leave to tour the world or visit grandchildren. Boomers hurt during the recession by lost value in their homes and retirement funds will choose to live more frugally.

“The question is — what will the boomers be able to afford?” Kotovsky said. “For the first time there’s more interest in smaller units. Everything five years ago was bigger, bigger, bigger. Now we’re seeing some people who are saying, ‘I can probably live in a one bedroom with a den rather than have all that extra square footage.'”

Kotovsky predicted that developers too eager to cash in on boomer retirements could lead to an over-saturation of assisted-living facilities. Boomers will tend to stay longer in independent-living units then move directly to a skilled nursing facility when they become frail, Kotovsky said.

For now, many younger boomers are in a ‘sandwich” phase, he said. Newly retired, they care for parents and, for the first time, are visiting modern retirement facilities for mom or dad.

“At 65, these people are unreachable now,” Kotovsky said. “But they sure are asking us a lot of questions about their parents. They are going to be very educated consumers when they themselves begin to look at it.”

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