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As the boomers age, senior-living options are booming, too

From luxury 55-over condos to assisted living
Posted: 6:48 AM, Jun 14, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-14 10:48:57Z

It seems as if they're popping up everywhere -- a Magnolia Springs, a Traditions, a Dominion and more. They comprise a mix of independent and assisted-living apartments for the growing senior population.

Two facilities are under construction each in Florence and Loveland, and one in Hamilton Township. Word from local officials is that more are on the way.

The new complexes are both an influx of senior-living chains expanding where their research shows a need, and local groups such as Baptist Life Communities, which is building the Seasons@Alexandria to replace its convalescent center in Newport.

Some developers also are building high-end apartment complexes aimed at people 55 and older; community services groups are targeting the same population with income-restricted residences.

The over-65 population continues to grow, said Paula Smith, communications manager for the Council on Aging. There is a real need for senior housing.

"A lot of the desirable places have waiting lists of two to three years," she said.

Seniorhousingnet.com lists 188 existing senior communities, including age-restricted apartments, across the Greater Cincinnati region. Of course, not all are new, and prices vary. Higher-end complexes start charging in the mid-$2,000 per month. Depending on options, those prices can shoot up quickly. Payingforseniorcare.com estimates $4,000 is the average cost in the Cincinnati region.

People used to say that assisted living wasn't for them, said Debby Farmer, director of community relations at the under-construction Magnolia Springs in Loveland. "But the tide is turning."

"What (the baby boomer) generation is learning is 'Why not?' It's three meals a day, lots of activities, and someone cleans my apartment," she said.

Prices at Magnolia Springs Loveland will start in the low $3,000s, depending on an individual's needs and size of apartment. It's expected to open in September or October.

Communities such as Florence are pleased with the new construction and interest.

"We're seeing interest across the spectrum," said Joshua Hunt, director of business and community development for Florence. "It's good for Florence. You've got to think of all your residents, from low income to senior development."

A rendering of the back of a Dominion Senior Living complex that is being built in Florence.

Magnolia Springs Florence opened in the last year, and Dominion Senior Living is set to open in the fall of 2018. And Hunt said he's gotten other requests for senior-living construction.

Ohio sites include the Magnolia Springs in Loveland, Traditions of Deerfield, and Hopkins Commons in Hamilton Township. Florence also recently approved a zoning change on about a half-acre of land along U.S. Route 42 near Bill Wentz Drive for apartments aimed at older residents. Episcopal Retirement Services Affordable Living, LLC requested the change. The company did not return calls about the project.

Hunt said the city also is looking at a mix of projects aimed at seniors in the community. He said the city wants to be sure that if needs change in 25 to 30 years, the development can change its target audience -- for example, reverting to apartments for residents of any age.

Traditions of Deerfield is one of the expanding companies out of Indianapolis, said Kristi Guilfoyle, executive director. Traditions hopes to open by the end of the year.

Like other locations, it will have amenities ranging from a hair salon, movie theater and meals with 123 studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments. Several locations, such as Traditions, have specialty memory care apartments. In Traditions' case, there will be 39 as part of the mix.

While the Council on Aging doesn't help find housing, Smith said, it gets a lot of calls for subsidized housing.

Hopkins Commons and Newport Millennium Housing Corp.'s Highland Village apartments in Highland Heights will have subsidized independent housing for lower-income residents. Hopkins will have 160 apartments where seniors can buy services as needed to help them age in place. Nearby Otterbein Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Neighborhood is available as a nursing care option.

Highland Village will have 104 one-bedroom apartments and seven two-bedroom duplex units with garages. While it is income-restricted, it is not assisted living.

Seniors looking for places to live should determine exactly what they need, Smith said. Some places offer a spectrum of options, from independent living and assisted living to nursing home. She also advises seniors to read the contract carefully. There may be a time when you are required to move to the next stage.

Financial planning is critical, she added.

"What will you do if you run out of money? Not all places accept Medicaid."