First-Class Care With Resort Flair

Senior living communities offer luxury amenities and country club-style activities



Segovia in Palm Desert

ETHAN KAMINSKY

A home movie theater, pool with fire pit and barbecue, fitness center, nine-hole golf putting course, computer and business center, clubhouse lounge, dining room with an executive chef who once served as the personal chef to a former U.S. president, salon and day spa, library, gift shop, valet and concierge services, and an active social calendar: No longer are these types of luxuries the exclusive domain of full-service resorts and gated country clubs. Offering the aforesaid amenities (and more), Segovia in Palm Desert represents the nouveau continuing care retirement community that emphasizes the “life” in “lifestyle.”

Art and Diane Welcher, 84 and 75, respectively, resided at Lake Mirage Racquet Club in Rancho Mirage for five years before moving to Segovia last May, the same month the 121-residence community opened.

“We were becoming more isolated,” Diane says. They moved, Art explains, “with the thought of being somewhere the rest of our lives where each one of us could function without the other and have more people around.”

Art goes to the gym three days a week; Diane is taking bridge, water aerobics, and tai chi classes. They watch free movies in a plush “home theater” and embark with neighbors on local and day-trip outings.

They gave up their Costco membership because they buy a lot fewer groceries since they dine most nights in the clubhouse restaurant.

“I get the feeling when I go into the dining room, ‘I’m going to eat like this for the rest of my life,” Art says. “And we love our happy hour Friday night,” he adds, referring to the weekly community living room gathering that features wine, hors d’oeuvres, and live entertainment.

“I came here not so much for the social life. I came for the security,” says Segovia resident Joyce Gorney. “I still have an active social life. I go out almost every day.

“I wasn’t intending to move,” says the 77-year-old, who previously lived at The Lakes Country Club in Palm Desert and has been a widow for a few years. “It was a big decision, because I thought maybe I was too young to come.” But when a friend suggested a tour of Segovia, she discovered “it was elegant and the people were kind; and I thought, if something happened, I wouldn’t be alone.

“I agonized over this move — the finality of it,” she continues. “But all kinds of things can happen, and I am just so pleased that I did it. I can do what I want to do.” That includes taking a trip and only needing to lock the door behind her. “I just got back from Hawaii,” Joyce reports.

On the other hand, the Welchers and Norma Kleinschmidt, 80, say they had no difficulty adapting to their new lifestyle. Norma previously lived in Sun City Palm Desert, where she was caring for a large house, pool, and fishpond by herself after her husband died. Segovia made the transition easy, she says, because “they had their decorator come out and look at the furniture to see what would fit.”

Avariety of fitness classes, matinee and evening movies, daily happy hour in Bubba’s Lounge, pet parks, weekly maid service, access to on-site catering, and an underground parking garage are all well and good, but not necessarily the most valuable perks.

Grace Seymour-Hoffman, 89, recalls when her husband of four years, Frank (also 89), suffered a heart attack at 2 a.m. She pressed an alert button in their unit, and on-call staff were at their door within minutes. “They can react quickly,” Grace says, noting that it was not long before Frank was taken by ambulance to nearby Eisenhower Medical Center.

Segovia offers levels of healthcare that range from annual flu shots to follow-up care during illness or injury recuperation to full-time home healthcare (at an additional fee) when and if the need arises.

“They don’t have to go somewhere for assisted living,” says Dee Wiering, assistant executive director. “It’s dignified. Their life just carries on. … It’s about peace of mind.”

It’s not only peace of mind for residents.

“Our families are happy for us,” Diane says. “They are delighted they don’t have to worry about us any longer.”

Outside visitors are, of course, welcome. In fact, Segovia rents full units overnight or for weeks for family members or friends of residents, for anyone wanting to “try out” the property, or for those needing short-term respite care.

Like other continuing care retirement communities, Segovia requires an entrance fee that can be structured in four repayment plans and monthly fees based on the repayment plan chosen. Use of amenities, property taxes, utilities, continental breakfast, dining room credits valued at $440 per month, maid and concierge services, transportation within 10 miles, and community-sponsored activities are included in monthly fees.

“We say it’s like a cruise ship going nowhere,” Joyce says.

Segovia is part of Áegis Signature Living, which operates senior communities throughout California and Washington and one in Las Vegas.
 

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