Downtown Lakewood

Aging in vibrant place in Lakewood’s downtown

Seniors drawn to pedestrian friendly Belmar, City Commons

Posted 10/3/17

There are a lot of challenges that come from being one of the oldest cities in the Denver metro region.

Not oldest in the sense of been around the longest, but one with the oldest population. A population that is growing.

According to …

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Downtown Lakewood

Aging in vibrant place in Lakewood’s downtown

Seniors drawn to pedestrian friendly Belmar, City Commons

Posted

There are a lot of challenges that come from being one of the oldest cities in the Denver metro region.

Not oldest in the sense of been around the longest, but one with the oldest population. A population that is growing.

According to information from the Denver Regional Council of Governments, not only is Lakewood one of the oldest cities in the region, but its senior population is expected to increase by 78 percent by 2025, according to the Community Assessment Survey of Older Adults in 2015, performed for DRCOG.

“One of the goals in our comprehensive plan is to provide a housing mix for our residents,” said Roger Wadnal, comprehensive planning and research manager with the city. “We don’t want different segments of the population isolated from one another. We’re all part of the same community.”

As Lakewood’s downtown area, the Belmar and City Commons centers are both hot spots for young people and families to plant roots. But they’re not the only ones eager to move to the happening part of town.

About half dozen senior living facilities are set up around the area, offering various levels of affordability, services and living options.

“We had one potential resident who came to look at us because the area has everything they wanted in a downtown, but can’t get in Denver anymore,” said Angela Hoffman, sales and marketing director with the Village at Belmar, one of the newest facilities in the area, located just across Alameda from City Commons. “Between amenities like the cultural center, Belmar Library, and all the shopping at Belmar, there’s so much within walking distance for people.”

The Village at Belmar is a premium senior living, 156 residential-unit project with 60 independent living and 96 memory care and assisted living units. The independent living flats are in units separate from the memory care to increase the feeling of individuality for residents.

“We do a lot of research on everything we do, and that includes things like making the Village walking friendly,” said Philip Shapiro, manager-member at the Village. “We also have exercise stations and green spaces for our residents.”

On the other end of the spectrum is CityScape at Belmar, an affordable senior living facility from Metro West Housing Solutions. CityScape is located in the heart of Belmar, and features 130 apartments.

“People who come here feel very strongly about being in the Belmar area,” said Brendalee Connors, director of development at Metro West. “In addition to everything Belmar has to offer, a lot of our members take part in wellness clinics, yoga and other organized events.”

There’s also more traditional senior living facilitates like Eaton Senior Communities and Atria Inn at Lakewood.

Cost varies based on the community. At CityScape Belmar, 70 percent of the apartments are affordable (based on the median area income), while as a premium facility, rooms at the Village are more expensive, but also includes utilities.

“Everyone is concerned about inflation and cost of living, and we’re in this together,” Shapiro said. “We have options where people can live together with friends that are not spouses, and we also take long term care insurance and some Veterans Affairs benefits.”

Location is key to the success of these facilities, between foot and car traffic, and both Connors and Shapiro said they get a lot of walk-ins.

Clearly, a desire for these facilities is there.

The Village is already about 70 percent occupied, and it’s been open less than six months. When CityScape opened in November 2015, it already had a waitlist of about 400 people, and it’s gotten to the point where Metro West had to shut down the waitlist because there was so much interest.

“It’s a facility and place everyone wants to be in,” Connors added. “Affordability in Belmar is very important.”

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