Appealing to younger seniors in their late fifties or early sixties is a balancing act for senior housing providers. Many prospective residents planning early want a housing option that suits their current lifestyle, will provide peace of mind as they age, and is a financially smart match.
With exactly these residents in mind, Timber Ridge at Talus, a resort-style life plan community in Issaquah, Washington, designed the Lofts at Timber Ridge: small but amenity-rich loft apartments for seniors who want to get their foot in the door, but are still comfortable with a high level of independence—and may want to treat the senior living community as their second home.
Timber Ridge, operated by Life Care Services, is a continuing care retirement community with 329 residences, including independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. Now, with the addition of the Lofts, Timber Ridge’s continuum of care will be broadened and more younger seniors will be invited to join the community.
“We looked at the people who like the ‘less is more’ approach,” said Jill White, marketing director at Timber Ridge, to Senior Housing News. “Baby boomers don’t interpret their life existence by their house. They value low maintenance and the freedom to come and go.”
Independent spirit, reduced cost
Loft residents will pay a substantially reduced monthly fee—just $2,250 for a 600-square-foot Loft, compared to $3,800 a month for a 700-square-foot independent living apartment. The entrance fee for the Lofts is $275,000, compared to $395,000 for the independent living entrance fee—and once the reduced entrance fee has been paid by Loft residents, they can progress into greater levels of care with no additional entrance fee required.
The smaller and more affordable Loft option is marketed as ideal for seniors who want to only live at Timber Ridge part-time, either because they have plans to travel or because they plan to spend part of the year at another home. Alternately, the Lofts can be the right fit for seniors who plan to live there year-round but are ready for a down-sized, simpler lifestyle.
The reduced fees for the Lofts come with less involved care; for instance, housekeeping comes once every two weeks instead of the weekly service provided in the independent living apartments. The Lofts have a “lock-and-leave lifestyle,” as White says, with regular check-ins that make it easy for residents to leave without worrying about break-ins or leaking plumbing.
Once a resident has been confirmed as a Loft resident, they are medically pre-approved for the LifeCare benefit, Timber Ridge’s complete continuum of care.
Plus, residents of the Lofts can still access Timber Ridge’s amenities, including a fitness center, aquatic center, private restaurant-style dining, cocktail lounge, café, creative arts studio, putting green, library, woodworking shop, salon and boutique market.
“The message is, you don’t need to feel obligated to pay in full to make the most of all of Timber Ridge’s amenities,” White said. “It provides freedom and encouragement for Loft residents to do whatever they need and want to do, without full monthly fees. They don’t have to choose between joining our community and taking the tour of Europe.”
Aiming for ‘Brooklyn hip-ness’
With beautiful views of the Cougar Mountains where Timber Ridge is situated, the Lofts will be marketed as a great option for seniors that are just beginning retirement, but may want to transition into assisted living in the future.
The new hybrid design came about due to an unused space in the community. When Timber Ridge opened in 2008, it was built with a long, shoe-box-like attached building space that was intended for retail shops. When those shops did not come to fruition, the space sat empty until its potential was realized.
Construction is planned to begin on this area in late summer 2017, and within about 18 months the conversion into the Lofts will be complete, White estimates.
The Lofts will have soaring ceilings, 14 or 15 feet high, White said, and though not actually elevated, they have been termed “Lofts” because they “co-opt the hip-ness of Brooklyn loft-living style.”
“Situated on the perimeter of the community, the Lofts are ideal for those who aren’t ready to immerse themselves in community life, but want a plan for the future,” White said. “It’s a cool crash pad for those who want to get their foot in the door.”
Written by Elizabeth Jakaitis