Environments for Aging .09 – conference teaser

Stefanie enjoying her raised planter bed at her CCRC

But enough about kids. Let’s talk about the other end of the life spectrum: Our elders. There’s my great-aunt Stefanie, above, next to the raised flower bed at her CCRC (continuing care retirement community) in Stone Mountain, GA. Stefanie did not want to leave her home, especially her garden, where she had lived for over four decades. When she reached her late 80s, however, Stefanie – being the pragmatic person she is – found a CCRC in her beloved Atlanta that seemed like a good place to live out the rest of her years. She purchased an apartment at Park Springs, right next to Stone Mountain Park, and moved in a few years ago. The residents are free to use the park, including miles of hiking trails and golf facilities. For those who don’t want to venture quite so far, the 1/4- mile loop around the pond, below, is fully ADA-compliant. My great-aunt, now in her nineties, walks the loop four times on her daily mile-long constitutional. The grounds, while a bit manicured for my taste, are beautifully landscaped with plantings that offer year-round interest. A small wild area provides habitat for birds and other wildlife, and the site planners were careful to leave some mature trees on site, which makes the place look less sterile than some fully-bulldozed-and-newly-planted planned communities I’ve seen. Stefanie loves her raised flower bed, as do many of the other residents – despite the fact that each bed is shared by 2 to 4 residents, there’s still a waiting list. Some grow vegetables, others flowers for cutting, others plants and flowers transplanted from their home gardens. As the baby boomers enter retirement and retirement communities, we are seeing new trends in senior living. These folks do not want to give up their active lifestyles, their independence, and their autonomy, and why should they?  

Tomorrow I’ll tell you more about the upcoming Environments for Aging .09 conference, sure to be informative and perhaps even and inspiring. Stay tuned!