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LGBT Seniors Find Solace In New Retirement Community Plans

By Daniel @ LivingSenior - April 17, 2011

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As we grow older we make many adjustments in our lifestyles. Some of these changes involve where we might live and what kind of special care could be needed to maintain a quality of life. However, just because growing older means we can’t always do the things we once could, it doesn’t mean that the core essence of our personality changes. This is true for older adults from all kinds of ethnic, cultural and sexual orientation backgrounds. It is that latter category of older adults who are especially concerned about their upcoming retirement plans and what it might mean for their community.

The National Senior Citizens Law Center recently published a survey targeted for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Of those surveyed more than half believe that staff or other residents of long-term care facilities would abuse or neglect an LGBT elder.

Our hope is that this report provokes thought, raises critical questions, and compels future systematic research that can be used to dive deeper into the issues raised by these findings and the many personal stories we received, says National Senior Citizens Law Center Executive Director Paul Nathanson.
Actually, there might just be some positive action being taken to address those concerns. Up in Sonoma County, California ground was just broken on Fountaingrove Lodge, the nation’s first retirement community offering the option of continuing care for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT).

Fountaingrove Lodge is a dream that has been several years in the making, and reflects our desire to provide fine retirement living opportunities for a broad range of seniors, said Bill Gallaher, founder and principal of Oakmont Senior Living (OSL). Bill worked on the design and development of this bold new complex with his wife, Cindy. We are excited because where other LGBT retirement projects have stalled or failed, Fountaingrove is a reality. Of the more than 30 retirement communities we’ve developed, this latest project will fill a void that has existed for far too long, and we are proud to lead the way on this front.

Like other retirement communities, Fountaingrove Lodge will offer idyllic surroundings and special programs designed for seniors. There will be a combination of bungalows and apartment homes with floor plans ranging from 830 to 2,001 square feet.

We anticipate that this project will become the hub for the broader North Bay LGBT community, and reflect the interests and passions of our residents, said Cindy Gallaher, OSL co-founder and principal.

The sprawling campus plans call for a separate library, business center, bank, salon and day spa. There will be a communal hall for special events and social gatherings, a gift shop, a pet park, and a bocce court. For those seniors who still want to work on their golf game, they can enjoy the championship Fountaingrove Golf Course right next door.

Along with the independent living design, Fountaingrove Lodge will also be designated as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) that can provide health care assistance in the form of home care or as a fee-for-service. There will also be a state-of-the-art emergency call and response systems in every residence. For many LGBT seniors, this will truly be a place to call home.