By Advocate Contributors
Originally published on Advocate.com May 18 2011 3:00 AM ET
In the past 15 years, retirement communities for LGBT seniors have popped up in places as disparate as Hollywood, Santa Fe, and suburban Florida. The newest facility, the 10-acre Fountaingrove Lodge in Northern California’s Sonoma County, broke ground in the spring, opens in 2013, and bills itself as the “nation’s first LGBT retirement community with the option of continuing care.”
Like many retirement communities, Fountaingrove will emphasize activities — like aerobics, dance classes, and yoga sessions—that serve as more than mere diversions. “Studies have shown that people who live in these types of communities live longer and are happier because of the daily social interaction,” says Fountaingrove’s vice president of marketing, Molly Gallaher.
The Fountaingrove Lodge continuing care model will also provide on-site health services. Most continuing care developments operate like rentals, with occupants typically paying a sizable entrance fee (usually in the six figures) that’s returnable after they move out. Monthly rents at Fountaingrove start at $2,395 and include several meals per month, weekly maid service, paid utilities, and chauffeured transportation within 10 miles of the development.
For lucky seniors who can decide between home ownership and life in a comfortable retirement community like Fountaingrove, the latter choice has numerous advantages, Gallaher claims.
“As people age, owning a home become stressful,” she says. “The maintenance, the gardening, the property taxes and utilities — all of that goes away [at a retirement community], allowing you to enjoy a cruise ship atmosphere on land.” FountaingroveLodge.com