Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Retirement Communities Remake Image to Appeal to Boomers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Retirement Communities Remake Image to Appeal to Boomers

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Steve and Jodie Ostrin moved to a retirement community five years ago, but they're not slowing down just yet. In between rounds of golf, working out and traveling, the couple both work full-time, sometimes out of a home office.

"This place is great. It gives us a lot of things to do," said Steve Ostrin, 54, who lives at the Sun Lakes community in Phoenix, which also offers computer classes, hiking and tennis. "We knew we loved the desert area, so we decided why not go where we want to retire first, and keep working until we're ready?"

As the first wave of boomers begin contemplating retirement, many communities are loading amenities designed to appeal to the generation's nonstop lifestyle.

The new look includes more activities ranging from rock wall climbing to softball to kayaking. His-and-her home offices with Internet access are also on rise, as well as continuing education classes.

"Boomers are a dynamic group. They want choices, they want control, and they want freedom," said Ron Geraci, an editor for My Generations, AARP's magazine for baby boomers. "They have no intention of really stopping their lifestyles, and retirement communities are changing to reflect that very quickly."

Just ask 55-year-old Nora Timson. For years, she juggled 25 miles of bike riding each day with her job as a legal secretary. Growing weary of her 20-year-old house, Timson visited a friend at Sun City Grand community and was dazzled by the state-of-the-art fitness center with a luxury spa, indoor pool and weight equipment.

Now retired, the triathlete and her 76-year-old husband, Jim House, devote more time to lifting weights, swimming and running. She competes regularly in triathlons and recently won a gold medal in a 40K biking road race in the National Senior Olympics.

"It's like living in a resort," said Timson, who says retirement has allowed her to become more active than ever before. "It's my turn to play."

Indeed, many developers now avoid the term "retirement" to describe these communities, referring them instead as "active adult" or "country club" properties.

The goal: attract boomers like the Ostrins who aren't ready to quit working just yet, or fitness buffs such as Timson, who won't settle for a quiet game of shuffleboard. …

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