‘Age is a state of mind’ at 55-plus communities

Communities for older adults combine independent living with social activities.

Older adults who want to blend an independent lifestyle with social activities and fewer maintenance responsibilities could find a 55+ community to be the right move.

“It’s very much about the conveniences. It’s very much about the socialization,” said Tracy Caserta, the regional community director for Treplus Communities, which has several communities for residents ages 55 and older, including Dogwood Commons in Centerville. The active adult community opened its doors in June.

Such communities give older adults, whether they are working from home or retired, the opportunity to live with like-minded neighbors and be surrounded by amenities and activities that cater to their interests and needs, she said.

“Age is a state of mind, right?” Caserta said.

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In the past, many 55+ communities had been income-based, said Deborah Thomas, community manager at Homestead Village Beavercreek. Over the last several years, however, companies have begun to see a need for active, independent communities for this age group, especially for those looking for alternatives to assisted living facilities.

“This kind of environment is brand new, in my opinion,” Thomas said.

Residents at Homestead Village like the all-inclusive price, which covers a variety of utilities, internet and cable. The community also offers a salon, café, fitness center, game room, banquet room and other amenities.

Homestead Village doesn’t arrange meal services, transportation or home care, but Thomas believes the community meets the needs of a vast majority of those in the older age group.

“It’s just like an apartment complex, but it’s for 55 and over, independent, active living,” she said.

At Dogwood Commons and Homestead Village, residents aren’t responsible for maintenance, including landscaping, lawncare and snow removal.

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Dogwood Commons offers one- and two-bedroom single-story spaces starting at about 1,200 square feet, with attached garages, front porches, back patios and private entrances. The apartments themselves have touches like granite countertops and zero-entry showers, and there are no steps throughout the community, Caserta said.

Many residents who move in are downsizing, she said.

“We have a lot of people going into Dogwood Commons coming from 4,000 to 5,000 square foot homes,” she said.

Amenities include a community garden, pet spa, fitness center and patio with a grill and fire pit, and a walking path surrounds the community.

A committee of residents plans activities based on interests, Caserta said, and Dogwood Commons’ residents like being around neighbors with similar passions or careers. Potential residents also can visit and join the activities.

Dogwood Commons is completely compliant with the Housing for Older Persons Act, she said, and at least one resident who is 55 or older must live in all of the apartments. Younger spouses or people of any age are permitted to live with the older resident.

Older adults often are surprised by what the community offers and wish they would have made the move sooner, Caserta said. If potential residents aren’t yet 55 or perhaps need more care, other communities can be recommended.

“It’s more about finding the perfect fit for the resident,” she said.

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