Active-Adult Communities up the Ante

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Written by Emily Lyons
 Real estate sales look fairly grim these days, but not for one group: those getting ready for their golden years. According to a report from the National Association of Homebuilders, 57 percent of baby boomers between the ages of 55 and 65 plan to purchase property within the next five years where they can retire and maintain an active, social lifestyle. By design, condos are a smart choice for seniors, with many high-rises offering on-site amenities such as a grocery, movie theaters, and upscale retail. The DC metro area abounds with communities (both age-restricted and otherwise) tailored to their specific needs.

Emphasis on ‘Active’
Helen and Steve Low are avid travelers, theater buffs, and social butterflies. They worked together in the Foreign Service for more than 30 years and have lived in Washington, DC, for more than 50 (on and off), raising three sons along the way. Now in their 54th year of marriage, they’ve decided to settle down in the soon-to-be-completed Fox Hill senior living community, nestled at the intersection of River and Burdette roads in Bethesda, MD.

“We’re really looking forward to this transition,” Helen says. Having spent much of their lives working in such far-flung locales as Zimbabwe, Italy, Uganda, Senegal, and Brazil, they’re happy to spend their later years inside the Beltway, where they appreciate the diversity and energy of the international community.

Sweetening the deal at Fox Hill: a garden “town center,” abundant walking paths, acres of forest preserve, an indoor driving range, performing arts center, wine cellar, recording studio, spa and salon, five dining venues, chess tables, and even a woodworking shop. Residents may choose to drive or take advantage of the private car service available to them. Beyond that, and much more valuable, the residents have a “self-directed lifestyle that emphasizes options and flexibility,” says Cindy Wolf, director of sales and marketing. There are several levels of assistance available, from housekeeping to speech therapy to Alzheimer’s care.

It’s not always an easy decision to downsize, but the amenities often make it worthwhile. “We’re both in our early 80s and in good health,” Steve says, and the idea is to get established in a community “while we’re still young and vigorous.” He continues that they each take comfort in knowing that if anything happened to either of them, the other would still be comfortable, among friends, and in good care.


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