Why would someone accustomed to the finer things in life have to live without them in their twilight years? With the growth of luxury senior living communities in South Florida, there’s no reason to sacrifice.
Life expectancy and overall health are increasing, and luxury senior living communities are adding amenities that reflect that trend. Residents might start the day with a fitness class or a swim in a heated pool, have a spa treatment and meet friends for cocktails before enjoying a gourmet dinner. It’s equivalent to five-star living.
Retired scientist Marcia Bosseler has lived in the Palace at Coral Gables for 2½ years and loves the lifestyle. “This is not a place where I’m going to ask, ‘What am I going to do today?’ ” she says. “There’s so much to do. There are so many people with interesting stories to tell.”
She takes advantage of everything available at the Palace, which has nine senior living communities in South Florida. “I’m still productive,” she says. “I feel ageless, learning and doing new things. A 98-year-old lady is teaching me to play bridge.”
Bosseler makes use of the free transportation offered by the facility. “It’s a trolley that takes us around to our appointments and shopping,” she says. And there’s the gourmet dining. “The food is very good. They had a new chef last night who made a ‘back to New York’ deli theme,” she adds.
“Aging does not mean slowing down,” says Michael Brown Jr., executive director of Atria at Villages of Windsor in Lake Worth. “Seniors are living longer and healthier. There’s a much more energetic senior population today. They’re more and more concerned with healthy living. They still want to enjoy our high-end amenities. I think the seniors in South Florida want to exercise every day. They want to challenge themselves mentally and physically.”
From a business standpoint, Brown points to a changing paradigm in the South Florida market. He says the traditional buy-in market is giving way to high-end rental communities, allowing parents and their heirs not to give away all their liquidity. “We think with today’s more modern seniors, a straight rental business model works,” he says. “People are planning better for the long-term and looking for larger apartments with high-end amenities.”
Other luxury senior communities have a different business model with buy-ins that sometimes are partially refunded when a resident leaves or dies.
Scott Brill is sales manager at Five Star Premier Residences of Pompano Beach, a 10-story high-rise across from the ocean. “We have more of an active clientele,” he says. “More of our vibrant residents still drive, and enjoy going to the beach.”
Brill agrees the growing trend in luxury senior living is steering toward rental options. “The pendulum has swung back to rentals,” he says.
Adam Rosenblum, the Palace Group’s vice president of marketing, agrees. “I see more high-end rentals,” he says. “People don’t want to tie up their assets.”
As part of maintaining their residents’ active lifestyles, most luxury senior facilities provide restaurant-style, chef-prepared meals. With many of today’s seniors becoming more health-conscious, the communities are paying particular attention to providing nutritionist-supervised meals. Almost all these facilities provide spacious, lushly landscaped walking trails along with modern exercise equipment. Many offer physical therapy and massages as part of their spa services.
And for those retirees who want to keep the party going, another growing trend is happy hours with wine, beer, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before a formal dinner.
Most luxury senior communities offer both independent and assisted-living arrangements. Increasingly, they offer secured, enclosed areas for residents suffering from memory issues including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Trained individuals with experience in working with those conditions typically are available on-site.
Another common mainstay is 24-hour concierge service for residents. And because many residents— including some who might still be working—want to keep their business acumen intact, business centers are on-site with computers available.
Jean Francis Roy, who heads Ocean Land developers, is planning a luxury rental community in downtown Fort Lauderdale, called Riverwalk Residences of Las Olas. The 42-story, 401-unit will include independent living, assisted living as well as memory-care apartments. He plans to have doctors’ offices, physical therapy, and daycare on-site. He sees it as even more than a rental apartment community. “It’s like a five-star hotel,” he says.
Keith Myers, CEO of MorseLife Health System, says, “Today, luxury senior living is about creating an environment that is not only opulent, but also meets all your lifestyle needs without ever needing to leave home.”
On the right are details about some of the communities in Boca Raton and Broward.
Five Star Premier Residences of Pompano Beach
1371 S. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach
Rental only. Monthly prices $3,100-$4,200. All residents pay a community fee upon admission equal to one month’s rent.
Riverwalk Residences of Las Olas
333 N. New River Drive East, Fort Lauderdale
Construction starts in mid-2018. It will consist of a 42-story building with 401 units, including 192 independent-living apartments, 152 assisted-living apartments and 57 memory-care residences. Monthly fees start at approximately $5,000.
375 Royal Palm
375 E. Royal Palm Blvd., Boca Raton
Ground breaking begins in early 2018. Projected opening: late 2019. Nonrefundable reservation or community fee likely, with additional fees based on care needed.
Toby & Leon Cooperman Sinai Residences
21036 95th Ave. S, Boca Raton
Entrance fees start in the low $400,000s, with 90 percent refund regardless of stay. Monthly fees start at $3,270; utilities included.