Making the most of the golden years

For many who are now in the age group of 55 and older, our concepts of retirement living may be based on impressions made years ago when grandparents and other elderly relatives went to the “old folks’ home” when they were either no longer able to care for themselves or in need of care that family was unable or unwilling to provide.

Some of these old folks’ homes, also often referred to as nursing or retirement homes, can be extremely unpleasant for the patient-resident as well as for those visiting residents. It is not uncommon to hear of or read news reports of neglect and abuse of residents and even theft and deception by staffers of the facilities. But there are other options.

As the aging population has grown and seniors are healthier and interested in an active retirement, modern, resort-style facilities have replaced many of the depressing, uninviting facilities of yesteryear.

These new developments take retirement living to a level that is unimaginable for many with amenities meant not only to engage and entertain residents but also to provide a safe environment where every need is attended to.

New developments such as Mansions at Decatur on Lawrenceville Highway offer options that for most people are only able to be enjoy during once- or twice-yearly vacations. But this and similar self-contained communities offer these options for daily enjoyment.

Some liken living in these communities to living on a cruise ship without water; others may describe it as being on a permanent vacation at an all-inclusive resort. No matter the description, these retirement communities are designed to cater to residents’ every need and want.

Chef-prepared meals, 24-hour security, housekeeping services, fitness centers, happy hours, fine dining, arts and crafts, landscaped outdoor spaces and independent living in private apartment homes are just a few of the amenities for those who want activities, camaraderie and an active lifestyle in retirement.

As one enters the property, the initial impression of Mansions at Decatur is truly one of approaching a luxurious, five-star resort community. The impressive architecture of the main building and expansive portico-covered entryway are the first of many features of the 40,000-plus square foot building that are meant to impress and engage.
An elegantly appointed and decorated lobby spans a massive space and features conversation and lounging areas where residents and guests can gather for relaxation or entertainment. The lobby is flanked by a large resident services counter that is staffed 24 hours per day.

The dining room can seat a minimum of 125 in a setting that is as nice an any top-rated restaurant and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner daily in addition to a Sunday buffet. Residents also have the option of ordering a la carte items prepared exactly to their likings. There is also a large private dining room that can be reserved for special occasions if residents want to entertain and dine in a more secluded setting.

A sports lounge on the first floor has large flat-screen televisions, an impressive granite topped bar and numerous tables and seating where residents and guests can catch the latest sporting event, play games and cards or just hang out with friends.

Of the 130 units, there are one- and two-bedroom options available that provide ample space for individuals or couples. Each unit features a fully-equipped kitchen with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances, full-size washers and dryers, and private balconies or patios.

One-bedroom units start at $2,800 a month including housekeeping, utilities, garbage service, cable, phone and internet.

The individual units are designed so that residents wanting privacy and independence have those options as do those who are seeking an active social life with non-stop activities and entertainment.

When seniors can have amenities of this nature, access to healthcare and wellness training, bring their small pets with them and have onsite dining, entertainment, beauty and barber services, there is little room for debate regarding the allure of luxurious, all-inclusive retirement living.

For seniors such as myself, this is exactly what I envision when I think of how life may be in a few years for my wife and me. I would be perfectly content living out my golden years at an all-inclusive resort.

Obviously, resort living may not for everyone but for those seeking this kind of lifestyle, the golden years can potentially be some of the best years of one’s life.

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