Senior living complex growing again

Operators see need for such housing continuing

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

 

Demand for senior housing is on the rise in Vancouver, as evidenced by plans to construct a new $3.5 million wing at the Glenwood Place Senior Living complex in Vancouver.

Work on the three-story addition is expected to start in early 2012, with plans for an August opening. It will add 24 apartments for residents in need of assisted living, and is the fifth expansion in 10 years at Glenwood Place, a 301-unit independent and assisted-living apartment development. The new wing will be on the northeast corner of the 7.2-acre campus, said Cindy Lamar, co-president of Vancouver-based LifeStyles Senior Housing Managers LLC, which manages the complex.

Lamar and Tammy Thwaite became co-presidents and co-owners of the senior housing management company in August, buying out majority owners Gary and Christine Rood.

The Roods still own Glenwood Place’s building and a string of 10 senior living facilities in Washington, Oregon and California, while Lamar and Thwaite’s LifeStyles Senior Housing manages those sites. The list includes The Quarry, a 223-unit senior housing complex in east Vancouver’s Columbia Tech Center.

Lamar, 50 and Thwaite, 33, both started working for LifeStyles Senior Housing Managers in 2001.

The pair expects the need for senior living to continue surging, with the first wave of baby boomers turning 65 this year.

“That’s just going to get bigger and bigger,” Lamar said.

Most boomers expect to continue the lifestyles they’ve grown accustomed to, despite the sluggish economy.

At Glenwood Place, fees for apartments, care, meals and amenities range from $1,500 to $4,000 per month, depending on an individual’s needs, Thwaite said. The center offers social activities, a health club, swimming pool, bank branch, beauty salon and regular shuttle service.

“It’s about culture and lifestyle,” Lamar said.

She and Thwaite acknowledged senior housing providers will continue to face challenges to bottom-line growth, as falling home values and dwindling stock portfolios affect the older generation.

“Seniors don’t have as much time to rebound,” Thwaite said.

However, a new Pew Research Center study released this week reported that senior citizens are faring better than their counterparts from a quarter century ago. The analysis reported that households headed by adults age 65 and older have seen their wealth increase by 42 percent to a median net worth of $170,494, up from an inflation-adjusted $120,457 for the same age group in 1984.

For some seniors and their families, the decision to move to assisted or memory care isn’t as much about choice as a safety measure.

“When someone needs memory care, they need it now to age in a place that they’re familiar with,” Thwaite said.

Glenwood Place employs about 150 workers, from minimum wage restaurant staff to housekeepers, caregivers, registered nurses and administrative staff, Lamar said.

It opened in 2001 with 174 apartments, including 66 independent-living units and 108 units for residents in need of assistance, nursing care and memory care services.