Colorado Springs has long been a favorite location for retirees. Now the real estate market is responding with a new wave of all-inclusive housing options.
Selecting a retirement community today can be easily confused with booking a Caribbean cruise. With descriptives pulled from a travel brochure, aging-in-place communities promise all-inclusive luxury resort amenities: 24-hour concierge service, gourmet dining, swimming pools, fitness centers and movie theaters. From large gated, age-restricted developments to multilevel continuing care facilities, Colorado Springs is on the leading edge of a growing national trend in vacation-style senior living.
“It’s all about the lifestyle,” says Tomas Arebalo, district director of sales and marketing with Brookdale, a nationwide network of senior living communities. Referring to the growing influx of retiring baby boomers as the “silver tsunami,” Arebalo dismisses the notion that expectations of living longer should diminish future experiences. “Many of our residents are world travelers, and they want to be pampered,” he says. “They expect quality services and amenities combined with socialization and programming.”
That’s exactly what Jane Mulkey, 78, wanted when she and her husband were shopping for a new home a few years ago near their daughter’s family in Colorado Springs. Now settled in an independent living apartment at the Palisades at Broadmoor Park, Mulkey cites numerous daily activities—bridge, book clubs and Bible study—and a variety of dining options. “It is almost like a cruise ship,” Mulkey laughingly admits. “We keep really busy.”
For Emilie Simon, Mulkey’s daughter and only child, the move at first seemed premature. “I tried to discourage them because they are young,” she says. But after her father, Jim Mulkey, suffered a stroke at 62, she worried that her parents would not be able to enjoy a full social life. “It’s a great peace of mind for me.”
Now both family units live within a few minutes of one another. “My grandchildren come by at least once a week,” Mulkey says. “I feel at home here.”
Aside from lush add-ons, many retirees do choose a particular region because of family or a strong sense of connection. Because the Springs has a strong multigenerational military presence, many retirees choose to return.
“Colorado Springs has one of the highest rates of military retirees in the country,” says Jessica Scott, marketing manager for Oakwood Homes’ The Retreat at Banning Lewis Ranch, which will premiered the city’s first single-family, gated, age-restricted neighborhood last year. Aimed at the “55 and better” active adult, residents at The Retreat have their own 10,000-square-foot amenity center including an outdoor pool and pickleball courts.
“Many of our potential home buyers are looking for their final and forever home with a community focus,” Scott says.
The recently opened Aspen Trail Retirement Resort, near Powers and Woodmen, is another new option for seniors. With all-inclusive, monthly apartment living, its lack of buy-in fee and long-term lease requirement provides a unique model in the market.
In the end, what seems to matter most to retirees is the sense of community, whether it’s a 55+ master-planned development, graduated care complex, assisted living or memory care facility. As Arebalo says, “They always want to come back to Colorado Springs.”