I was talking with a friend who was exhausted from moving her parents out of their 55+ community apartment. Apparently, her dad did not like the ambiance that the new senior lifestyle provided. His words were “It’s Florida, and people waiting to die – up north.” I can’t blame him. I have visited many people in these communities and despite all the hoopla about activities and no-hassle living, they can be a bit depressing.
Whenever I walk into these places – and it doesn’t matter in which state they are — I notice that the décor is the same. To be blunt, the décor is Laura Ashley meets Hospital modern with a few antique reproductions thrown in. If all your residents are 90 years old this is fine, but these places are marketing to 55+, and this type of interior design – well, it sucks.
Anyway, I do believe the real targets of these complexes are those who are well into their sixties and above. In case anyone has forgotten, this is the “Make Love, Not War”, “Give Peace a Chance”or “Turn on, Tune in, Drop Out” generation. This generation inspired civil rights, activism, women’s liberation and great rock ‘n roll. To stick them in a complex where low-sodium meals and “maintenance-free living” are the highlight of their day, is disrespectful to say the least.
Okay, before all the senior complexes start yelling, I will admit that life is what you make it. So, if seniors participate in activities at these places, they will stay busy and maybe happy. But, I want to propose an alternate lifestyle at these places. No, not couple and sex swinging– although, that might truly liven up the places a bit – no, I want to propose a senior center built around the 1960’s generation. So, here it is my plan for my new senior living apartment complex — Forever Young, Adult Partying Community — which, by the way, will be located on Abbey Road.
At Forever Young, the interior design will be a throwback to the 1960’s. Apartments will have shag carpeting and bean bag chairs (elevated of course – even I have trouble working my derriere out of the traditional floor-model bean bags and I have a while to go until I reach 55). Apartments can have bongs, hanging beads and lava lamp accents. My complex will be in a medicinal marijuana-sanctioned state so those bongs will have a practical purpose as well. I will also offer a variety of activities for my residents. I know, there are activities at the normal 55+ communities too, but my community will take activities to a new level.
Beatles Bowling – Glow-in-the-dark bowling is all the rage today, and I think my residents will get a kick out of it. Of course, since we are dealing with some people who might still have LSD flashbacks especially when exposed to strobe-light effects, we will also offer Peter, Paul and Mary Bowling or lava lamp bowling. Beatles Bowling will be more than an activity; it will be a competitive sport. Forever Young will set up inter-community competitions with other complexes, and our team will be known as “The ROLLING HeadSTONES”
Beach Boys Pools, Spas and Aquatic Center – Swim, enjoy aquacise classes, float on a noodle — whatever. There are no real rules for the pool area except that no peeing is allowed. Wear a bathing suit or not – this is a “free zone”, so enjoy.
The Grateful Dead Gardening Club: Listen to all the classic Dead Tunes as you grow whatever you want to grow in raised beds which means no kneeling on the ground which means no knee and hip injuries.
The Steven Tyler Salon – Yes, Steven Tyler would gladly put his name on a salon for his fellow “oldsters”. Book an appointment and learn the secrets to his youthful looks. However, be prepared to show your Medicare card as some of his secrets might involve plastic surgery.
The Piano Man Pub: Karaoke Seven nights a week. You always thought you were better than Billy Joel – here is your chance to prove it.
Born to Run Gym: It pains me to see that Bruce Springsteen is in his sixties, but he still rocks the house when he is on tour, and he is still buff. So, I think a gym named after him is perfect. Here, residents will take aerobics, spinning classes and kick boxing while they listen to Bruce’s songs of rebellion and angst.
These are only a few of my many planned activities. Don’t worry if you are more the relaxation type, I will have solariums and relaxation areas such as the “Hey You, Get off of my Cloud” Spa which will feature massages, yoga, tai chi and napping stations.
Right now, I can see the 55+ communities making plans to steal my 1960’s themed apartment complex ideas.. Go ahead and try and I will sue your asses off. However, if you want to hire me as a consultant, I am available.
18 thoughts on “Reinventing the 55+ Communities”
I hope I never end up moving into an apartment complex where only old people live. I’m 65 years old, but I want to have some younger people around, too. As far as a 60s themed place, well, a trip down Memory Lane is a lot of fun, but I’m not keen on the idea of trying to live in the 60s and 70s again.
On the other hand, I’m dying to buy one of those great big bean bag loungers, and I will do just that when I have a living room big enough to accommodate it.
My 85-year old widower uncle lives in one of these places and he has quite the busy schedule: growing African violets to give to the “ladies” and then inviting them back to his place to watch a movie (from the 50’s)! He seems very content (but he’s three decades older than 55). I DO like your idea of having retirement homes “themed” by generation! But I think the older men would like to have a few younger women around for companionship, so maybe you need to have different “wings” for the separate themes, instead of the entire building complex.
That is a great idea Mike. I just think 55s shouldn’t be living in these places.But I guess they bring money so that is why they are open to this age group.
As one who just turned 60, I vote for YOUR ideal retirement place. Your Rolling Head Stones cracked me up. I love the Stones, but I don’t want rolling heads in my room. Anything Beatles is great and hanging beads, definitely. Thanks for the idea of turning my home into a retirement home for seniors. Maybe I won’t have to sell after all. Don’t sue me. Remember – imitation is a form of flattery.
Go for it Theresa. If it helps, use it! 🙂
Can we have black-light posters and a black-light hour in the Beatles bowling alley. It would go great with the glow in the dark bowling balls. 🙂
sure, why not? I am very flexible on the amenities. Put them in the suggestion box and we shall give it a whirl! 🙂
I second the black light posters!
The “Hey You Get Off of My Cloud” reeled me in….as long as the Stones will come sing it for me because I am assuming they will have an apartment at the place too!
I think they will have the penthouse suite. They will probably trash it and bring in girls. That should really rock that place! 🙂
Sounds like my place right now.
Hmm… I’m not really digging the décor you’ve envisioned, but then again, I’m a redneck. Still, I like the general direction you’re going in. What about electric wheel chair racing? I could get into that!
This of course is predicated on my living to see 55, haha!
First of all, I see you going into the three digits. Secondly, the 60’s decor is not set in stone; the idea is that the place is fun and exciting and not your typical stodgy and boring senior living facility.
Can we have fondue and drink cheap wine out of Dixie cups?
oh, great idea! Okay, let me add that to the by-laws.
Heavy, man, where are my lovebeads?
Actually it’s been one of my life’s major disappointments I was just a teeny tiny bit too young to be a hippy. *puts on Don Adams Get Smart voice* Missed it by thaaaaaat much.
However, this birthday I will qualify to move into your groovy pad. Funny how that works out, huh?
HA HA Phee, fun comment! I have a few years left but I am already getting offended by these places. We need to liven them up before I sign off.
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