Retirement communities locate in Shelby County

America, and Shelby County, is graying.

In the year 2000, 35 million Americans were age 65 or older. Almost half of these were over age 75. Where are they living?

Not all move to Florida, as many sitcoms might lead us to believe. Most elderly still live at home, and are cared for by aging children. Millions of Baby Boomers now care for their parents. With the rise in home care-giving and assisted living, some nursing homes have seen numbers decline in the last few years.

As America continues to gray, new housing options have arrived on the horizon. One is independent living, also known as senior apartments or retirement living. Last week I explored two of these communities being built along Highway 280 in North Shelby County.

Mark Ackerman, executive sales director of the new Somerby residences located next to One Nineteen Health & Wellness, was happy to explain what they offer. The community is affiliated with St. Vincent’s Hospital, and consists of three levels:

Independent Living Residences –– one to three bedroom rental apartments include many amenities, such as membership to One Nineteen fitness facility, restaurant meals, all utilities, transportation, housekeeping service.

Assisted Living –– one bedroom, bath and wet bar includes more services, including personal care, Licensed nurse on-duty, more frequent housekeeping.

Memory Care –– this future facility will provide more monitoring and care needed for those declining mentally.

Another retirement community being built in Inverness, along Lake Heather, is Danberry Retirement Residences. These include European–inspired cottage homes selling from the upper $300’s. Town homes are offered too. A review of their Web site indicates their aim at the Baby Boomer market, “The Greatest Generation, distinctively different …”

As the Danberry ad says, we “invented Rock ’n’ Roll.”

Gray Panther founder Maggie Kuhn once said: “Old age is an excellent time for outrage. My goal is to say or do one thing outrageous every week.”

Well, that depends upon your definition of outrageous. For me, it’s a trip to Destin beach in the dead of winter.