Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake strive to keep up with rising senior population

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Cities work to keep up with rising senior population
Image description
Cities work to keep up with rising senior population
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Cities work to keep up with rising senior population
As the populations of Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake grow, the percentage of the population that is 65 and older is increasing at an even more rapid pace.

The senior population increased 30 percent, 81 percent, and 123 percent from 2010-15, in the three cities of Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake, respectively.

Although the cities provide multiple options for their senior populations through a variety of organizations and services, such as planned activities and transportation services, there can be downsides for some area seniors, particularly those whose quality of life is dictated by a fixed income.

“Most of the seniors in our area who are selling their homes are downsizing, not just in square footage, but in price, and many times have to go to a city where home prices are lower,” Ebby Halliday Realtor Kimberly Holt said.

A need for smaller homes

MaryLee Alford, vice chairman of the Southlake Senior Advisory Commission, said seniors want small, quality houses but have a hard time finding them in Southlake.

“[Southlake seniors] have been there, done that with the mega mansions, and when they become empty nesters there is no longer a need for huge homes with large yards,” Alford said. “Huge homes and yards require a lot of maintenance and work, which is more difficult as
one ages.”

Holt said housing trends in the area show that many seniors are living with their children in homes that can be transitioned to include a separate wing for their parents, otherwise known as a mother-in-
law suite.

This trend is usually a result of a lack of smaller, low-maintenance homes available, as well as affordable housing—both of which seniors often view as requirements when deciding on a place to live, she said.

Senior activity needs

A sense of community—and a way to access activities in the community and surrounding areas—is important to seniors, said Maryann Waddell, GRACE of Grapevine’s Friends & Family coordinator. GRACE is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to families and individuals in northeast Tarrant County struggling with a low income or with an emergency.

Waddell said seniors can become isolated or fall into poor health because they are not able to take themselves to the doctor, social events or even grocery shopping.

Executive Director Duane Buuck with Mid-Cities Care Corps, a nonprofit that provides transportation and care and living services for seniors in Northeast Tarrant County, said the original goal of the organization was to take seniors to and from medical appointments. He said, however, that goal had to change as needs for companionship and assistance with taking seniors grocery shopping and to social activities became more apparent.

Seniors living in this area are also looking for educational experiences, said Assistant Vice President Carla Forman with Northeast Transportation Services. Grapevine is the only one out of Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake that partners with this service, and she said 78 percent of the Grapevine seniors the organization transports visit local colleges for education classes.

The impact of seniors

Alford said senior populations are an essential part of any community, as they have gained valuable knowledge and experience.

She also pointed out that the majority of the wealth in America is owned by seniors.

“Younger people typically have mortgages, car payments, and school and child expenses,” Alford said. “Many seniors have raised their children, paid off their mortgages and are in a position to enjoy their golden years.”

However, Alford said if seniors cannot find what they need in a community, they may relocate, which can end up hurting the city they move
away from.

“If a city doesn’t have enough resources for its empty nesters and seniors, they move away, taking their volunteer hours and donations with them,” Alford said. “They are going to volunteer, spend and donate where they live.”

Buuck said it can be hard for seniors to find help for their needs, and that they also find it difficult to ask for help.

“We’re dealing with a proud generation [that likes] to remain independent,” he said.

To help keep seniors in the community, Soheila Phelps, senior services coordinator for the Southlake Senior Center, said Southlake created the Senior Advisory Commission, through which seniors can make comments or suggestions about what they would like to see, and these requests are then brought before City Council.

Grapevine, too, has its own Senior Citizens Advisory Board. Eileen Hinson, active adult supervisor for The REC, said members are appointed by City Council with representatives from the Grapevine Housing Authority, GRACE and active senior adults from The REC.

Although Colleyville does not have a senior commission, Cody Ashton, recreation specialist for the Colleyville Senior Center, said Colleyville City Council is responsive to the requests citizens bring to them.
By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 covering Tarrant County news, and is now back in Collin County as the editor of the Frisco and McKinney editions.


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