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Senior living communities aim to meet needs of growing population

🕐 3 min read

Today’s retirees demand more than room and board. Upscale dining, wine tastings – even celebrity appearances – are on the menu as senior living communities hope to remain competitive.

“Demand is going up and the taste of consumers is changing, so we’re having to adapt,” said Wayne Powell, president and CEO of Civitas Senior Healthcare LLC.

The Ridglea is the Fort Worth firm’s next property, a 75-unit assisted living and memory care community planned to open in fall 2016 on Westridge Avenue just south of Ridglea Country Club in West Fort Worth.

“We’re seeing newer, nicer buildings with more amenities. Residents want more,” Powell said.

They can expect outdoor walking paths, a dog park, wellness center, beauty salon and multimedia room, among other amenities, when The Ridglea opens.

Also prioritizing amenities is Scott Polzin. As executive director of The Stayton at Museum Way, Polzin makes sure the facility just off West Seventh Street offers upscale dining and a Red Carpet Series that’s hosted Jane Pauley, Carl Bernstein, Oliver North and other celebrities.

“It’s not the same old retirement home,” Polzin said of today’s senior communities, not just The Stayton. “Nowadays, you have to create an interior design that rivals upscale hotels, for example. Communities are really having to step up their game in what they’re offering.”

From Civitas communities in Mesquite, Midlothian, Allen and elsewhere to Dallas-based Caddis’ newly announced Fountainview Estates in Longview, senior living communities are rising to meet the needs of an aging population.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 3.8 million people 60 or older lived in Texas in 2010. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 12 million. Those Texans will make up 22 percent of the state population.

“As the older adult population increases, Texas will need more health and human services and community engagement activities,” reads part of the State Plan on Aging 2015-2017 by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

Powell is wasting no time in accommodating potential residents. Not only will The Ridglea feature 75 units in its first phase, but a second phase of independent living cottages also is planned. The property is owned by Powell and his wife, Misti, as well as Fort Worth residents Lou and Malcolm Street.

The Powells and Streets owned The Courtyard at River Park for 27 years before selling it in 2013. The Powells founded Civitas (meaning “community”) in 2012, planning to develop properties and manage others. The company now employs 510 people and has offices in Fort Worth and Dallas.

“We look at it as a real community approach, for us to put community into each of our buildings,” Powell said.

Serving as architect for The Ridglea will be DFD Architects Inc. of Leander north of Austin. A landscape architect has not been chosen.

The company works with local banks to finance its projects. It currently operates eight, with five more expected to be announced by year’s end, Powell said.

“Fort Worth is a great climate for business. People are moving here from all over the country,” Powell said.

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