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Magnolia at Highland, Western Seniors Housing newest luxury senior living complex, built for those age 62 and better. Photo by Michael Down

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) As Baby Boomers grow older, the one thing that has become clear is their desire to stay active and independent. With that in mind, creating housing that will feature innovative ideas for senior-friendly living has increased.

Researchers report in The Gerontologist, that there is a greater sense of well-being and independence in daily activities derived from living in a more senior-friendly accessible home. It also found that housing quality plays a major role in the psychological security of older people living independently within a community.

Consideration must be given in all details, including the style of floor lamps, bathroom fixtures or armchairs. Also of great importance is the interior design, as it plays a key role that many tend to overlook.

For instance, navigating a long hallway can be a real challenge for a person with vision impairments. An example could be the use of neutral colors for both the wall and handrails.  It could prove extremely difficult to differentiate between the two for person with a problem in depth perception. Contrasting colors, in the form of a darker-colored wallpaper with a cream-colored handrail (or vice versa) would make navigation much easier.

Noting that even the color of the carpet in a multi-level building must be a consideration, Kim Pollack, senior vice president of Western Seniors Housing, Inc., a leader in the senior apartment management industry, explains how this attention to detail makes a huge difference in the lives of seniors living in their senior-living apartments.

“When completing our new senior-living community in San Bernardino, the Magnolia at Highland, we worked with an interior designer who specializes in senior communities. She assisted us in developing a plan, which offers our residents a leisurely lifestyle in a home-like surrounding,” said Pollack. “While there must be a balance between what is user-friendly and what is attractive, the overall goal is to provide our residents with an opportunity to make friends, have fun, keep active and enjoy life.”

Pollack points out that as the population ages, a lack of senior-friendly or accessible housing could become an increasing problem. Having the ability to use standard bathtubs and other items has proven too difficult for some seniors. As a result it has caused some select developers in the industry to rethink their designs to attract the Boomers.

In a study of accessible housing design published in the Journal of Housing and Society, researchers point out that the growing elderly population means more adaptable, accessible, and safe family housing is needed in all parts of the country.

The study states that this approach would permit people to age in place, because houses would have features such as accessible entrances and ramps, grab bars and walk-in showers in bathrooms, and a single-level design.

Baby Boomers, who over the years have provided a new outlook on staying active, often wish to continue this trend into their senior years. By staying healthy and physically fit, they increase their ability to maintain an independent lifestyle.

“The Magnolia at Highland has made every effort to include these aspects in our design. In addition, we haven’t forgotten that Boomers also want amenities like outdoor fireplaces, walking trails, swimming pools, bar-b-que areas and a fitness center. They want to remain active even as they are getting older,” said Pollack.

Along with these outdoor activities as part of that active lifestyle, Pollack said Western Seniors Housing has incorporated several indoor activities as well.

“At the Magnolia at Highland we also have a computer center, billiards room and a clubhouse offering resident programs through the nonprofit organization EngAGE.,” said Pollack.

Founded in 1999 as More Than Shelter For Seniors, EngAGE transforms aging and the way people think about aging by turning affordable senior apartment communities into vibrant centers of learning, wellness and creativity.

Taking the whole-person approach to creative and healthy aging, EngAGE provides arts, wellness, lifelong learning, community building and intergenerational programs to thousands of seniors living in affordable senior apartment communities in Southern California.
“By partnering with an organization like EngAGE, we are supplying seniors with activities that help them maintain a healthier and happier lifestyle,” said Pollack.

The Magnolia at Highland is located in San Bernardino on the southwest corner of Highland and Medical Center Drive. As part of an ongoing redevelopment program, Western Seniors Housing has turned an automotive site into 80 upscale, spacious, affordable apartments for adults age 62 and older. The community is scheduled for occupancy in December 2011.

To schedule an appointment or to learn more information about The Magnolia at Highland senior living community contact Western Seniors Housing, Inc., at (909) 473-1000.

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