Next Avenue: A new kind of 55+ community is wooing residents with wellness, nature and cultural connections

by | Jul 7, 2022 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org. In 2008, Janice Barton was vacationing at Serenbe, a biophilic, or nature-centered, community in the Chattahoochee Hills about 30 miles outside of Atlanta. She fell in love with the village’s English-style cottages, outdoor artist studio, nature trails, local shops and cafe all within walking distance, and decided to buy her forever home there.

“In a typical suburb, you drive into your garage, shut the door and that is it,” explained Barton, who at 73 is a solo ager. “Maybe you know your neighbors on either side or across the street but you don’t have anything in common so you don’t want to invest the time and energy. At Serenbe, I feel younger because I am engaged and I’m living a more vibrant life.” Serenbe and other new amenities-laden retirement communities illustrate how the senior living industry is going through a transformation that has accelerated since the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-pandemic Americans age 65+ expressed the desire to stay living in their homes as long as possible; the social isolation imposed by the pandemic has solo agers — the 12% of the population who, according to AARP, are widowed, divorced or without adult children to care for them — rethinking the desire to age alone at home. Related: Seniors head back to retirement communities as COVID lingers–‘I just didn’t want to be alone’Changing designs, changing minds Meanwhile, families h …

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