Seniors are living longer. Each day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65. So retirement communities are evolving to welcome more active residents who want more choices.
by Heide Aungst
The waitress at Radius, a Chagrin Falls restaurant, greets Harvey and Cindy Tucker by name.
“Good morning, Dr. Tucker, Mrs. Tucker,” she says. “We have a table for you.” She leads them to their seats and leaves to get them coffee and orange juice. The Tuckers make their way to the brunch buffet, but it takes them a while to get up there.
They stop at a table to talk with their neighbors. As they continue to move through the restaurant, they wave and smile at others.
They seem to know everyone.
The Tuckers return to their table with full plates – Harvey raves about the sausage, Cindy praises the bacon – and side dishes loaded with lemon cream and raspberry pastries. It looks gluttonous, until Cindy explains they’re taking the pastries to a neighbor – an excuse to check on her.
assisted living to skilled nursing care.
More than 20 percent of households headed by someone 75 or older are in senior housing and care properties, according to the National Investment Center for the Senior Housing and Care Industry.
Most restaurants prohibit taking pastries out from an all-you-can-eat brunch. But Radius, though open to the public, is the dining jewel at the heart of South Franklin Circle, a continuing care retirement community in Chagrin Falls, affiliated with Judson. The employees’ mission is to keep residents happy. They even send meals to residents’ homes when they can’t get out.
A continuing care retirement community spans all levels of retirement living, from independent toBut that’s expected to change as the population of seniors grows, and seniors live longer. Americans’ average life expectancy in 2010 was almost 79, an increase from about 75 years in 1990.
Each day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65. Today, 13 percent of Americans – one in eight – are age 65 or older. Cuyahoga County’s numbers are even higher, at 16 percent.
Technically, Cindy Tucker won’t be a senior for two more years. She is only 63, yet she has lived at South Franklin Circle for three years. Before people got to know her, many asked if she was visiting her parents. South Franklin Circle requires just one member of a couple to be at least 55 years old. Young children can’t live in the home full time, although they are welcome to visit, even for extended stays.
When South Franklin Circle was still on the drawing board, Cindy and Harvey attended a meeting about it. Harvey, 74, took aside a Judson executive. He had only one question.
“I have to tell you right now,” he said, “we have three large dogs, and anywhere we go, they have to come with us.” A week later, he got a phone call saying pets are not only welcome, but encouraged.
“People live longer with pets,” says Cindy.
“For us, it would have been a deal breaker,” says Harvey.
They moved to South Franklin Circle, even though both are still working. Harvey is an ear, nose and throat physician at MetroHealth Medical Center. Cindy is a registered nurse who works when needed at St. Vincent Charity Hospital.
They live in a cottage in the development and built their own dog run in the backyard. South Franklin Circle has a dog park and has hired a dog walking service for people who can no longer walk their pets.
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For more information about South Franklin Circle, please call (440) 247-1300 or click here.