Senior Housing
Produced by Corita Gravitt


Bob Kourey's retirement is right on track. The house is paid for, the yard work manageable, and Bob has plenty of time to devote to his hobby. It's the retirement he and his wife Joann dreamed of when they moved to this quiet Sacramento neighborhood 37 years ago. And Bob says the only way he'll leave his on a gurney!

As the Valley's senior population grows, their needs become more diverse. Only a third will share the Kourey's dream: to "age in place" and stay in the house they've lived in for years. Another third will downsize to a condo or apartment, while the rest move to single family homes with smaller yards -- like those in so-called "active adult" communities, catering to people 55 and above.

Judy Bennett heads the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce, and says today's retirement communities are different than those thirty, even twenty years ago. As Californian's live longer and healthier lives, there's a growing demand for communities that cater to an active lifestyle.

But what happens when you get older? You slow down? Your spouse passes away? For many seniors, it means downsizing to a condo or apartment.

Hank Fisher anticipated the Valley's need for senior housing thirty years ago and began building. Among his projects: the Chateau at River's Edge in Sacramento. It's an elegant complex where a one-bedroom apartment with meals, activities, and local transportation starts around $2300 a month for one, $2800 per couple. The average age here? 86!

Betty Shanahan met widower Bob Shaw at the Chateau, and before you could say, "I do," they did!

Betty and Bob feel secure knowing that should one or both of them require more care, they can transition from "independent living" to the Chateau's "assisted living" wing.

Such options abound for seniors in metropolitan areas, but smaller Valley towns are also striving to meet the unique housing demands of their graying populations.

A place like Samaritan Village fits the bill: a non-profit community of cottages and apartments in Hughson, near Modesto,. Funded by a 30 million dollar donation by a philanthropic Valley couple, it's entirely self-contained, with a post office, beauty shop, library, dining room, and chapel. But Samaritan Village will take senior living one step further when it opens a new hospice.

As a group, California seniors ages 65 and above have faired well economically. Still, more than half of retired Californians rely heavily on Social Security for much of their income. Most of them can't afford to buy into an "active adult" community -- or even rent an apartment in a higher-end senior complex.

Developer Cyrus Youssefi is trying to change that. With help from the Sacramento Housing Redevelopment Agency, he turned the derelict Dodge City Inn into Ladi Senior Apartments, a complex for low-income seniors.

A typical one bedroom can set you back close to 800 dollars a month in Sacramento. A one bedroom here averages $440. The complex includes landscaped grounds, community and exercise rooms, and security. Since it's rent-controlled, the price will remain relatively low.

Age has a way of sneaking up on us, but it's comforting to know that growing older in the Valley means a growing number of housing options -- for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health…



Judy Bennett
President, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce

Hank Fisher
Hank Fisher Properties

Cyrus Youssefi
Developer, Ladi Senior Apartments


The complete text of New Valley Episode 205: Give Me Shelter!...


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