Living Well in the Golden Years

The Coachella Valley boasts beautiful housing communities for those on the cusp of — or already enjoying — their senior lifestyle

Lawrence Karol Real Estate 0 Comments

Time marches on. That’s true for each of us, but we don’t all necessarily want, or need, to follow the same path. The desert offers dozens of housing choices for active adults in their senior years as well as those who may have some health challenges. Whether you’re looking for a parent or yourself, there’s a perfect community within our community that awaits — no matter what your lifestyle or budget.

Active Kindred Spirits

If you’re looking for a neighborhood with like-minded seniors 55 and older who are still very young at heart (and body), a 55+ active community fits the bill.

The gated golfer’s paradise Heritage Palms in Indio was built in 1996 and consists of 1,004 single-level family homes. “Heritage Palms is unique in that the golf course is owned by the homeowners, and the HOA board and management team oversee both the HOA and club operations,” General Manager Dennis Elam says. Features include a 32,000-square-foot clubhouse complex, a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, bocce ball courts, and a library. “The target audience is active adults,” Elam says. “Only homeowners can become golf members, and the golf memberships are a one-year agreement without any initiation fee and no commitment beyond the current year.”

There’s golf and a lot more to choose from at Sun City Shadow Hills. Following in the footsteps of Sun City Palm Desert, Shadow Hills opened in Indio in 2004 and will close out at more than 3,400 homes with 10 different floor plans ranging in size from 1,321 to 3,000 square feet. “We cater to lifestyle amenities for active adult living,” says Francine Wallace, general sales manager for Pulte Group. There are two clubhouses and two golf courses — a championship-length and a par 3. “The focus at this community, just like at all the other Del Webb properties, is lifestyle opportunities,” Wallace says. “There’s a real emphasis on providing a wide range of amenities and all sorts of social clubs and organized activities. Our community is populated with people who are looking to stay very active in their retirement years — and, in fact, a lot of people at Sun City Shadow Hills are not yet retired. They’re Baby Boomers who continue to work.”

Those looking for the latest in smart homes will be intrigued by Trilogy at the Polo Club, a new community in Indio — residents just began moving in this March — that will eventually comprise 850 to 1,000 homes ranging from 1,400 to 3,300 square feet. “Every home we build has a solar energy system along with energy-efficient features,” says real estate broker Billy Thoman. “The idea is to get to a zero-electric home where we offset all the electricity the homeowner is going to need to generate over the course of the year.” There’s a private club with a restaurant, state-of-the-art technology, and a lot of innovative design. The technology includes fitness on demand; for example, all the cardio is app-based. You can put the app on your phone and start walking on the treadmill, and it will keep track of everything you do.

Thoman notes that there’s a similar community vibe at Trilogy at La Quinta, which was built between 2003 and 2011 and has 1,238 homes as well as a 30,000-square-foot clubhouse that comprises a day spa, four tennis courts, a resort pool, and a dramatic mountain backdrop. There’s also a golf course that was home to the Skins Game from 2003 to 2006. “The demographics of the community are similar to Trilogy at The Polo Club,” Thoman says. “It’s for active folks who are young at heart — golf, food and wine, and fitness are all important to them.”

At Villa Portofino, an ever-expanding list of housing options await. The Palm Desert community originally opened in 2005 with 120 houses. Comstock Homes is currently expanding the 50 acres, starting with their Sorrento condominiums, which range in size from 1,183-square-foot one-bedroom units to 1,494-square-foot two-bedroom units. “We have an elaborate 30,000-square-foot clubhouse, and the scene is very social,” says David Lauletta, director of sales and marketing for Comstock Homes. “In addition to dining, there are dance and yoga studios, a fully equipped gym, a library, and a 100-seat movie theater.” Comstock has more expansion plans in the works — Ravello, with 63 duplex and triplex units, and Positano, with 52 single-family detached homes, will be released for sale in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Active adults have been heading to the Four Seasons at Palm Springs since it opened in 2004. Buyers looking for resales in the gated community can choose from among seven single-family, ranch-style floor plans that range from 1,900 to more than 2,800 square feet. “The Four Seasons at Palm Springs is one of the most diverse communities in the valley,” says Activities Director Cindy Hayward. “We offer an unsurpassed list of amenities. Instead of the normal country club with activities surrounding golf, we have tennis, basketball, pickleball, bocce ball, shuffleboard, water aerobics — we have five pools available — resident parties and events, and clubs.” A Seasons restaurant will soon open as well. “In addition, our ballroom is available for homeowner rental for parties, weddings, and other affairs,” Hayward adds.

The average age tends to skew a bit higher at Segovia in Palm Desert, which attracts many people who have been living in the area for 15 to 20 years and have experienced the country club lifestyle but are tired of huge homes and want to have a place where they can just relax, according to Marketing Director Kelly McLeod. The community, which opened in 2010, comprises 117 apartments, four casitas, and about 150 residents. Segovia is an entry-fee community, meaning that you’ll pay a lump sum upon moving in, and the monthly rent is affected by the amount you put down and the size of the apartment. Depending on lease terms, a portion of that down payment is refundable upon moving out. “Any service you can think of that’s provided at a hotel, we can provide,” McLeod says. “Driving services, housekeeping, massages, deliveries. It’s like having your own personal valet.”

A Helping Hand

Those in need of special care can find the accommodations they’re looking for in an assisted living community.
Hallmark Palm Springs consists of 36 studio apartments, two deluxe studios, and eight one-bedroom units conveniently located near downtown. Ground-floor apartments include private patios, and the second-floor units feature private balconies, some with mountain views. Administrator Gloria Gourlay says she believes that one reason Hallmark stands out is its personalized service. “I believe in setting a good example,” Gourlay says.

“One must show kindness, compassion, and competence as part of your character. I expect that of myself and of my fellow employees. We work as a team in creating an atmosphere of genuine caring and love to the residents who live here. And that should be felt as soon as someone enters our door. They and their families are entrusting us to provide them with a secure, safe, caring, and fun environment. I take that very seriously.”
Another community that appeals to a wide range of needs that a senior population might have is Atria Hacienda.

“We are a social model and try to give our residents a life of independence and the availability of making many choices,” says Executive Director Fred Destefano of the Palm Desert community. “We have a model in our organization where we do an in-depth interview with our residents called Learn.Do. Try. We really try to understand what their lives were like before they came to be residents and what are the things that interested them. But just as important is what are the things they always wanted to do but never took the time to learn.

Then we work from there to create activities that can speak to those things.” Atria Hacienda includes studios, one- and two-bedroom housing units comprising 140 independent and assisted living units, and 40 units in memory care.

When Memory Becomes an Issue

Sometimes extra care is needed beyond simple assisted living arrangements.

In the heart of Palm Springs, Emeritus at Palm Springs — an assisted living facility that offers special care for residents with memory issues — is set on 4.5 acres, with many apartments featuring mountain views. “Our single-story design makes access to dining, living areas, and outdoors effortless,” Senior Executive Director/Mentor David Tamo says. “All of our apartments are located in beautifully decorated cottages, and our lush landscape combined with the unique cottage design create a feeling of family and home.”

Emeritus has an innovative approach to memory care, called Join Their Journey, a comprehensive program that incorporates life enrichment programs, an integrated wellness plan, and the ability for a family’s loved one to follow their own paths. “We do everything we can to surround our residents with things they remember and cherish,” says Tamo. “Outside of every resident’s room is a storyboard, which helps tell the life story of the resident through a combination of photos, a written story, and other memorabilia.”

Windsor Court Assisted Living facility, licensed for 150 residents that include 33 who live in a secured dementia/Alzheimer’s unit and 25 beds of hospice, has been in Palm Springs for 33 years. “Our grounds are much like a resort setting, and we encourage our [assisted living] residents to take advantage of the outside,” says Administrator Jean Stanton, who is also a registered nurse. “Each resident is assessed so we can understand their unique needs and the responsibility we have in meeting those needs,” she says. There’s a 1950s-style ice cream parlor where assisted living residents congregate each morning for lattes, espressos, cappuccinos, and café mochas. “Twice a day our residents can grab fresh-popped popcorn and head for the movie theater to view the latest films.”

Dedicated to residents with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illness, Caleo Bay is the only local facility of its kind. JEA Senior Living, founded by Jerry Erwin, opened Caleo Bay in La Quinta in July 2013. Caleo Bay Administrator Dee Wieringa explains that Erwin focused mainly on retirement and assisted living until his own mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s made him realize the need for quality Alzheimer care. “Our ‘meaningful moments’ philosophy is based on his experiences,” she says. “Our philosophy of care is focused on the knowledge that to provide the care and support our residents need, we must know and understand dementia and the ever-changing impact it has on their ability to understand their world. We must also know each resident’s life story and use this to create moments that are meaningful. Our programs are designed to add meaning and value to residents’ lives and help them feel secure in their environment.” Caleo Bay has 46 rooms, some private and some shared, with a total of 66 beds.

Whatever your healthcare needs, level of physical activity, or lifestyle, Palm Springs and its surrounding desert cities offer an array of active living communities to suit your or a parent’s requirements.

A Place Where Everyone Knows Your Name
This comprehensive list of 55+ communities throughout the desert will help you meet all of your lifestyle needs.

Atria Hacienda    
Independent and assisted-living apartments, plus memory care units, 65+ , $3,995 to $6,495 a month, dependingon size of unit and level of care.
44600 Monterey Ave., Palm Desert 760-341-0890

Atria Palm Desert    
Assisted and independent living      Studios start at $2,900 and one-bedrooms start at $3,750
44300 San Pascual Ave., Palm Desert 760-773-3772

Caleo Bay in La Quinta    
Dedicated to individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses with some exceptions, 60+, Starts at $4,000 a month depending on type of accommodationand level of care.
47805 Caleo Bay Dr., La Quinta 760-848-7115

Christiansen Apartments
55+ active adult community $560 to $685    
81901 Shadow Palm Ave., Indio    760-342-1432

Date Palm Country Club
55+ active adult community, Homes $5,995 to $59,995,space rent $910 to $1,185 a month
36200 Date Palm Dr. ,Cathedral City 760-328-6514

Desert Braemar
55+ active adult community, $125,000 and higher
69850 Hwy. 111, Rancho Mirage 760-328-2753

Emeritus at Palm Springs    
Independent and assisted living, plus memory care, 65+    Studio apartments from $1,895 to $2,350 a month; one-bedroom, apartments from $2,895 to $3,395
1780 E. Baristo Rd., Palm Springs 760-322-3444

Four Seasons at Palm Springs
Active adults, 55+, although a spouse can be younger; others living in the home must beat least 45, $300,000 to $425,000
3800 Four Seasons Blvd.,Palm Springs 760-323-3008

Four Seasons at Terra Lago
55+ active adult community, Prices are pending    
Golf Center and  Terra Lago parkways, Indio  888-408-6590

Assisted living, 60+, with some exceptions, Studios start at $2,500 a month; one-bedrooms at $3,500    
344 N. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs 760-322-3955

Heritage Palms    
55+ active adult community, $250,000 to $550,000
4291 S. Heritage Palms Dr., Indio 760-772-5755

Legend Gardens
Assisted living    Average price $3,250 per month, but prices vary depending on individual needs
73685 Catalina Way, Palm Desert 760-773-3115

Mirage Inn
Assisted living, special care for Alzheimer’s and dementia $3,400 to $7,000 dependingon size and location of apartment
72750 Country Club Dr.,    Rancho Mirage 760-346-7772

Mountain View Manor    
Assisted living, memory care, Please call for further information    
13660 Mountain View Rd., Desert Hot Springs 760-251-1411
60+ active adult community, $200,000 to $600,000 entry fee; monthly dues range from $3,000 to $7,000
39905 Via Scena, Palm Desert 760-674-3200

Sun City Shadow Hills    
55+ active adult community, $214,990 to $600,000+, depending on personalized features, size, and location
81346 Corte Compras, Indio 760-772-5400

Trilogy at La Quinta
55+ active adult community, Mid-$200,000 to $800,000+
60800 Trilogy Pkwy., La Quinta    800-685-6494

Villa Portofino Community
55+ active adults, most in the55–65 age range, Existing homes sell between $200,000 and $400,000; new condoscurrently for sale range from $220,000 to $290,000
4001 Via Portofino, Palm Desert, 760-340-5433

Watercolors at La Quinta
55+ active adult community, $260,000 to $285,000
79285 Cool Reflection, La Quinta 760-777-7120

Windsor Court    Assisted Living
Assisted living, 60+, with some exceptions based on availability, $2,000 a month and up
201 S. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, 760-327-8351

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