Senior Living in the Lap of Luxury

Seniors accustomed to the finer things in life may have a hard time moving to retirement communities without them. That’s why a growing niche of senior communities—which range from age-restricted to assisted living to continuing care—is catering to well-off seniors.

There’s no standard slate of amenities, but generally speaking, a luxury senior community has a different way of doing things. Everything is done on a case-by-case basis, from the (tasty) meals to the (ritzy) activities. It’s a bit like resort living.

“What we really gear ourselves to is ‘retirement destinations’—where there’s an affluence to it,” said Greg Sieman, vice president of marketing at Vi, a popular luxury senior community that has facilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Florida, and South Carolina. “We build a product that definitely caters to people who have led successful financial lives.”

Sieman explained that Vi “invests heavily” in its properties, with custom finishes and state-of-the-art appliances. And then there’s the food. One doesn’t normally equate retirement communities with gourmet dining. But at luxury communities, the food is prepared by esteemed chefs and monitored by nutritionists and dietitians. This isn’t your typical stock-up-on-bread buffet.

“There’s a stigma of senior living out there. So as more people are aging into this 70-plus population, they want to go to a place that doesn’t feel like senior living … something that feels like their current style of living,” Sieman said.

Residents also get a lot of help with the little things. Many luxury communities such as theConservatory in Austin, TX,  employ a concierge, who can assist with things like travel and concerts. Personal trainers are often on staff to help keep residents in good physical shape. And higher-end retirement communities are also adept at bringing in guest speakers to educate residents about everything from history to technology.

When it comes to the actual living spaces, you probably shouldn’t expect the “Rain Man suite” in Las Vegas. But, these are still very nice places. Think higher ceilings, nicer fixtures, and granite counters. Think more space to move around and nicer (even spectacular) views.

But, make no mistake, this kind of living doesn’t come cheap. Prices will, of course, vary depending the community’s location and offerings. At Vi, for example, the buy-in costs range from the mid-$500,000s to over $4 million. That’s all depending on the type of accommodations. A three-room suite will run more than a one-room studio.

Still, if you have the means, it can be a great way to enjoy the golden years.

Author: Mike Krumboltz

Mike Krumboltz is a journalist who also writes fiction. He holds an MFA in creative writing and lives in Oakland, CA, with his wife and daughter.