Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Asbury puts a new face on senior living

E-mail this article \ Print this article

A tendency among aging baby boomers to place an emphasis on lifestyle is influencing expansion plans at Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg.

‘‘The resident that we moved into Asbury 82 years ago, when we initially opened, is very different from the resident who moves in today ... even the resident who moved in 10 years ago,” said Andrew Morgan, Asbury’s sales and marketing director. ‘‘There’s more of a focus on lifestyle, they typically want more space — and other amenities they’re looking for tend to be ‘at the next level.’”

The $44 million expansion will bring 101 new homes to the Asbury campus, located at 201 Russell Ave., Morgan said. The additions include 42 duplex residences called Courtyard Homes and a series of five low-density three-story Manor Apartment Home residences that each includes about a dozen units and underground parking. There will be a total of 59 two-bedroom apartments, each with its own parking spot, at the Manor Apartments.

About 1,300 residents now live at Asbury and the expansion will bring about 160 new residents, said Morgan. Construction will begin in early summer and the new residences should be ready for move-in in fall 2009.

‘‘Based on our present zoning for the campus, we have plenty of potential to expand Asbury Methodist Village again in the future,” said Mike Reynolds, Vice President of Project Development.

Plans are driven by Asbury’s wait list of 384 people whom Morgan described as well-travelled and well-educated.

‘‘They’re accustomed to moving around in the world,” Morgan said. ‘‘They’re looking for the opportunity to lead a more maintenance-free life so they can focus on the things that really give their life meaning.”

Many residents who recently moved into Asbury still have jobs or do volunteer work, he said. Others stay engaged in brain-stretching and body-moving activities from computer classes to tennis or ballroom dance lessons.

‘‘You’ll find it more and more with baby boomers: the idea of disengaging and just sitting back in a rocking chair and enjoying the golden years ... is less and less acceptable, it’s not what they want,” said Morgan, who has worked in the senior housing industry for 13 years. ‘‘What’s changed is that people are no longer willing to just retire,” he said. ‘‘... and that’s the reason that people very often make this move before there is a need for healthcare.”

The new apartments and duplexes will range in size from 1,500 square feet to 2,000 square feet.

New residents pay an entrance fee upwards of $475,000 on top of $1,500 per month or more monthly fees to ensure continuing care and future access to assisted living and skilled nursing, Morgan said. Depending on circumstances and program options, a large portion of the entrance fee could be refunded should a resident leave Asbury or die.