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The Growing Options for Independent Living

In early 2016 Kathy and John Wade made a big decision. After residing for over 30 years in a Bowling Green single family home, they made the move to a villa within a multifamily development. “To be honest,” states Kathy with a sheepish smile, “I just like looking at houses and I started with no agenda in mind. The more I looked at condos and villas the more I liked the idea. I knew John would need to be convinced.” Kathy, a recently retired nurse, posed the ultimate question to her husband. “I asked him which he preferred: lawn maintenance or golf? I knew that would steer the discussion in a positive direction.”

Overcoming Perceptions

John, who is semi-retired from Environmental Water, LTD reluctantly agreed. “It is true that I was the one who needed to be convinced. I had so many preconceived ideas about living in a condo or villa. Nosy neighbors, feeling cramped, association fees that were too high… all the usual stuff. Beside golf,” he claims, acknowledging his wife’s sales pitch, “I was also concerned about our cabin.” (The Wades have a summer cabin near Coldwater Michigan.) “Outdoor maintenance on two places was always difficult. By eliminating one of those chores it gave us both a lot more freedom to enjoy our summers.” Kathy and John are healthy, active and fully able to maintain a home. For now. “We have two wonderful daughters who are married to great guys. Plus four grandchildren,” says Kathy with unmasked pride. “We wanted to have a place they could come over and not worry about us. With our villa we have a semi finished basement that our grandkids can play in, lots of walking space around the community with six ponds that we can all enjoy—worry and maintenance free.”

Bill McConnell

  John is as practical as he is sincere. “Our kids have busy, active lives, just like we did when we were their age. They shouldn’t have to come over to our place and do chores.” He smiles self deprecatingly as he continues. “I thought I was too young to have someone take care of my lawn. In the short time we have been in our villa all that attitude has fallen away. I initially went along with the idea because Kathy suggested it. Now I am sold.”

Option: Stay

“‘Future proofing’ your home is a large and growing area of the constructions business,” says Bill McConnell, President of Dunright Building Services. “The goal is to keep people in their homes for as long as they want to stay there.” McConnell, in the construction business since 1983, always looks for balance. “Obviously you don’t want to turn your home into an institutional facility. Good builders and remodelers can do things that will help greatly to make a home livable and flexible for people as they get older. We can do things in a way that will improve the resale value of your home and ensure that your living arrangements have the flexibility and security needed for you to stay there well into retirement.”

Maintenance Reduction

The single biggest burden for homeowners is routine maintenance. Window cleaning, gutter cleaning and repair, even basic painting and cleaning. “Maintenance freedom is the first and primary goal of a remodel project designed to lengthen a stay in your home,” says McConnell. “New windows, besides being a general improvement in any home, are now designed to be easy care. In addition, there are a wide range of gutter covers that are aesthetically appealing but work extremely well. The goal is to put away the ladders and buckets.” A rapidly growing area of remodeling is house automation. “Thermostat controls, lights, security and cameras are all available and most are now wireless,” claims McConnell, “They can be run from your phone. They provide great comfort and sense of security as we travel more in retirement. From a simple phone app we can ‘check in’ on our home from anywhere we have phone service. Lighting can be automated, security can be checked and called in; cameras can be installed to keep watch on the property.” Finally, our homes can be made over to provide significant longevity as we mature. “One of the main upgrades we do is to remodel to an open floor plan design,” explains McConnell. “We create an open floor plan putting all the essentials on a single floor — laundry, kitchen, bedroom, and living area. We also make modifications to homes in ways that don’t look institutional. Installing flat bathroom floors and spa upgrades, making easy transitions into the shower. In the kitchen we can remodel with self closing drawers, size appropriate appliances, and even modern dishwashers that pull out like a cabinet instead of the bend over door.” There are dozens of modifications to our homes that can ensure that we can stay safely and happily in our homes. The most important caveat is to remember that contractors are not all the same. McConnell recommends that before beginning any work on your home that you ensure that workers are licensed, bonded, and insured. A good contractor is proud of their licensing and their references. They will be more than happy to share all of that information with you. There is even a relatively new licence, CAPS (Certified Aging in Place), an additional layer of certification for builders and contractors.


New construction in planned developments can be enticing. JP Ankney from Gulfstream Development Communities states “today’s new construction offers people over 50 ountless amenities, including: fitness centers, swimming pools, and clubhouses bustling with activities, interest groups, and fun”. Communities located in Sylvania and Monclova offer a choice of home size, with lawn care and snow removal taken care of — no need to worry about maintenance.

Arlene Gerig
Arlene Gerig

Arlene Gerig, a realtor from Re/Max Preferred Associates, always begins with the same question. “I gauge my clients interest in a 55 and older community. Some people are interested in that style of living. Others don’t see any value in things like a clubhouse, pool or exercise facility and planned activities. Once we get that out of the way we have several options.” Gerig, who has been an area realtor for 16 years, always tries to block out the decision process in convenient chunks. “Some people just want to change homes, usually downsizing and modernizing. Moving from a larger, multi floor single family home to a ranch is a good option once the kids have moved out, while also considering proximity and neighborhood. Besides security and safety, look at places that are closer to the activities and shopping you do on a regular basis. Since we are no longer constrained by our kids needs, like schools, we can look to our own needs, including churches, work out facilities, the library and social activities.” To be free from the responsibility and maintenance of a single family home, a qualified realtor can be a guide through the process. “There are several options if you decide to move into a multi housing area.” The first decision, according to Gerig, is to choose between a villa and a condo. “In a condo you own everything from the walls in,” explains Gerig. “In a villa you own the ground that the living space sits on, which gives you some options for exterior landscaping.” Regardless, there are association fees. “Association dues or fees will vary with each planned community, each type of unit and what they include. A realtor can help investigate and walk a buyer through all of these decisions,” says Gerig. “Common area maintenance, like snow removal, is a great upside, especially if you intend to travel or be gone for extended periods of time.” Gerig also recommends a second, experienced eye when looking for a new place to settle into as we mature. “While we may not be having any mobility problems, our friends will be getting older as well. Looking for accessibility issues like parking, wider doorways and hallways, and steps to navigate are all things that, even if we don’t need those options, our friends may appreciate.”

When it’s time to go

Area senior communities support residents needs and offer a vibrant lifestyle.

Vibrant Life Senior Living

667 W. Sterns Rd Temperance, MI | 48182 734-847-3217 | vibrantlifetemperance.com Temperance has two inviting Assisted Living “lodges.” Each of the lodges cater to the specific type of care for the residents, providing 24 hour assistance, 3 meals a day, activities 7 days a week and private rooms. We passionately believe each person can continue having a life and remain vibrant- despite changes in their needs. We like to call it “LIVING with assistance.

The Lakewoods Apartment Homes

2125 Arlington Ave. 419-380-5253 | lakewoodsapts.com Classic elegance in the heart of Toledo, The Lakewoods offers luxury senior living with classic 1930’s-style architecture. Offering 1 and 2 bedroom unfurnished apartments, amenities include central heat and air, full kitchens and a movie theater. Maintain a level of living you’re used to and participate in activities. Visit any day to experience the elegance.

Heritage Village

555 Anthony Wayne Trail Waterville, OH | 43566 419-878-3901 | hvwaterville.com Heritage Village of Waterville offers skilled short term rehabilitation as well as long term care. We specialize in behavior and dementia programing along with having secure units for both. Therapeutic activities, enrichment programs, spiritual, and individual activities round out the days. Admissions available 24/7/365. “Care, Commitment, and Compassion!”

Moongate Adult Living

930 Soda Park Rd. | Temperance, MI 734-847-7879 | moongateadultliving.com One and two bedroom apartments available, common spaces access and full kitchens. Ample parking. Air conditioning in units. Heat, cable, sewer, water and garbage included.

Glendale Assisted Living

5020 Ryan Rd. Toledo, OH | 43614 419-389-0800 | glendaleassistedliving.com Quaint assisted living, The Glendale offers apartment-style living for those who want their independence but may need more support. Friendly care staff is available 24 hours a day, all meals are provided and transportation is available. A respite program or day stay is available along with on-site physician and therapy services.Voted best Assisted Living by MLiving Magazine. Call us for a visit today… because everyone deserves a great life!

Parkcliffe Alzheimer’s Community

4226 Parkcliffe Lane Toledo, OH | 43615 419-381-9447 | parkcliffe.com Built specifically for individuals living with dementia, while uniquely supporting them in a comforting and familiar surroundings. Smaller households, expansive gardens, even personal keepsakes, contribute to a sense of normalcy. Residents share common dining and living spaces but have private bedrooms, some with baths. They and their families control daily choices to the greatest extent possible.

Oakleaf Village

4220 N. Holland Sylvania Toledo, OH | 43623 419-885-3934 | toledoinfo@oakleafvillage.com Whether your loved one lives independently or needs a little help, Oakleaf Village has multiple independent and assisted living options to meet their needs. With caring staff, and lots of activities that encourage social interaction, our beautiful community is designed with them in mind. Come visit Oakleaf Village, and our state-of-the-art memory care facility, The Grove, to see why we are the right choice for you.

Elizabeth Scott Community

2720 Albon Rd. |  Maumee 419-865-3002 | elizabethscott.org Offering a variety of living units, including unfurnished one-bedroom and studio apartments. Features include walk-in closets; full kitchen and private washer and dryer. Breakfast and dinner included. Amenities include a Resident Activity Center; daily social programs; utilities including Wi-Fi; and weekly housekeeping and a Skilled Rehabilitation facility. We also offer two distinct levels of Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing.

Perrysburg Commons

10542 Fremont Pike Perrysburg, Ohio | 43551 419-874-1931 | perrysburgcommons.com A distinctive and gracious senior living residence, offering a variety of spacious apartment styles. Daily continental breakfast and restaurant -style meals, 24 hour medical and security services, weekly housekeeping and laundry, and transportation to medical appointments. A variety of daily activities are available. Dedicated to providing you a safe, independent, active lifestyle, which reflects the feeling of home. Visit us and experience the ambiance and services we offer.

Orchard Villa

2841 Munding Rd | Oregon, Oh 419-697- 4100 or email admissions.ov@lhshealth.com In response to changes in healthcare needs, Orchard Villa in Oregon, Ohio is now offering private suites for those they serve. These private suites are available for long or short term patients. Orchard Villa specializes in providing clinically complex medical care in addition to rehabilitation with specialty physicians, including cardiologists and pulmonologists. Orchard Villa has earned a five star rating by CMS and four consecutive annual surveys with zero nursing citations from the Ohio Department of Health.  

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