An Apartment State Of Mind
August 17, 2022
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed August 21 National Senior Citizen’s Day, declaring:
“Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today and gives us ample reason this year to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land. With improved health care and more years of productivity, older citizens are reinforcing their historical roles as leaders and as links with our patrimony and sense of purpose as individuals and as a Nation. Many older people are embarking on second careers, giving younger Americans a fine example of responsibility, resourcefulness, competence, and determination… Wherever the need exists, older people are making their presence felt -- for their own good and that of others.”
Fairfield is proud to recognize the importance of providing affordable housing options for older adults. With 18 communities offering affordable apartments for seniors in California, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington plus plans to expand our portfolio of senior affordable apartment communities, we look forward to meeting the increasing housing demands of our aging population. We take a moment now to celebrate our older citizens and their contributions to our society on this World Senior Citizen’s Day.
According to AARP International, 10,000 persons in the U.S. turn 65 every day. This number indicates that the number of older adults will more than double over the next several decades — by 2050 over 20% of our population will be composed of seniors. At Fairfield, we respect our nation’s elders and have made a commitment to ensure that they have more access to affordable housing. Today, we acknowledge their accomplishments, dedication to important causes, and service to their communities.
The term “senior citizen” now has many connotations. Generally, one who is at retirement age or age 62 would be considered a senior citizen. Age restrictions at Fairfield senior housing communities vary by location and are either 62 and older or 61 and older along with 55 and older disabled persons. Many seniors prefer the term “older adult,” as this cohort of the population often remains healthy and active well into their 80s, 90s, or longer. Boardwalk resident Francis Swank celebrated her 100th birthday in 2021 and was the first participant in the Boardwalk Senior Affordable Apartments’ Covid vaccination clinic.
Left: Francis Swank with her daughter Ann and flanked by Community Manager Cyndi Pugh and Maintenance Supervisor Matt Voss. Right: Auburn Court residents Ethel and Janet prove anyone at any age can rock and roll a great time.
Fairfield senior residents bring lifetimes and worlds of experiences to our communities as former teachers, property managers, office workers, healthcare workers, salespeople, aviation industry personnel, human resources professionals, and so many more backgrounds. Some residents are still active in the workforce. Many are Veterans.
Have you ever had a conversation with a centenarian? A nonagenarian or an octogenarian? They may regale you with many stories of times long gone but listen up! The more elderly amongst us have first-hand knowledge and experience of things that the youngest generations alive today might not even have read about in history books. Yes, the world has changed in countless ways since the 1900s, and our seniors are in a unique position to share insights from some of the world’s biggest events.
Fairfield’s senior communities offer amenities that vary from location to location - and our residents enjoy them all! Community rooms are available on different floors for games, activities, potlucks, table talks and more. Boardwalk Senior Affordable Apartments’ even offers Wii bowling.
Barbecue grilling areas and garden patches are great for outdoor activities and gatherings. Residents at Auburn Court have a garden club, and this writer saw the resident gardeners at various Washington communities growing herbs and vegetables to share with neighbors.
Cozy library nooks are convenient for book club meetings, like those held at Woodrose Apartments, while theater rooms are perfect for movie nights. Some communities even offer on-site fitness centers.
Many of Fairfield’s senior living communities have resident services coordinators (RSCs) on hand to help residents find programs and resources to supplement healthy lifestyles. Whether it’s acquiring food from the local food banks or Meals on Wheels, or participating in fitness and wellness programs, RSCs working at Fairfield communities can help source necessities of life for those who need a little extra help.
Resident volunteers are amenities in and of themselves – there’s no shortage of volunteers at Fairfield communities who look out for their neighbors and organize activities. Some of Fairfield’s senior residents find joy and contentment right in their own communities while helping each other — habits perhaps learned through having to make do in life without the many modern conveniences we too often take for granted. Being in service to others is not work for these resident volunteers; it’s what makes them whole.
The more adventurous residents often organize field trips to interesting locations — like Mt. St. Helens in Washington or local casinos. The more solitary residents simply enjoy having the privacy of their own airy apartment homes with the comfort of knowing they can enjoy their privacy without the loneliness of no one knowing they are there. Whether they have biological families or not, they create family where they are planted.
Creating community where you live is vital to healthy living and aging in place. Life experiences have taught our senior residents that people tend to absorb the lifestyle of the people and locations around them, therefore, many give selflessly by helping at senior centers, food banks, and their local churches.
Auburn Court resident John Grasby has been volunteering at the Auburn Senior Activity Center for 14 years.
Fairfield recently sponsored the Lakefair 50+ Senior Day in the Park in Olympia, WA. To join the fun, nearby Boardwalk residents hosted a bean bag baseball game with prizes for guests visiting the Fairfield booth.
Left: Boardwalk’s 2 Pattys (Patty Hurst and Patty Hicks) show Lakefair 50+ guest Carlos Alaniz from Providence SoundHomeCare and Hospice how to play Bean Bag Baseball. Right: They take a break at Lakefair 50+ Senior Day to enjoy the music.
Boardwalk’s resident “Marilyn” can be found checking in guests at the Olympia Senior. Ballinger Court residents help at the Edmonds (WA) Food Bank. Meridian Court resident Paula Johnson goes out of her way to source groceries for her neighbors who have difficulty getting out and about – just to name a few examples of neighbors helping neighbors. Some even win awards – like Woodlands at Forbes Lake resident Gary Bradley, who won a Leading Age Washington Community Service Award of Excellence in 2020.
One more thing we do know about our seniors is that they love their fur babies. Because pets can help reduce stress and combat loneliness, Fairfield senior affordable apartment communities are pet-friendly. We are grateful for the residents who volunteer to pick up donations for their neighbors’ pets. Not even a Washington summertime downpour stopped residents Carolyn and Kay from gathering supplies from the All the Best Pet Care store in Kirkland. Despite getting drenched, they managed to return with the pet gifts for their neighbors.
Fairfield recognizes and celebrates the ways in which its senior residents can come from many different walks of life and find ways to create vibrant communities. Fairfield’s senior affordable communities have income and age restrictions, and while our residents may be on limited incomes, it doesn’t limit their generosity of time and service. Some of their stories make us laugh, some make us cry. They amaze us, move us, and inspire us. If you are close by one of Fairfield’s senior affordable communities, call for a visit. If you are a senior seeking your new home, the Fairfield welcome committee awaits your arrival. We thank seniors this World Senior Citizens Day and every day, and we leave you with Ethel’s message: