“Everyone in the industry talks about this ‘silver tsunami’ that’s coming,” said Renee Ramsey, co-owner of Mustang Creek Estates, which offers assisted living and memory care services. “I don’t think it’s here yet, but it’s certainly coming.”
In 2013 seniors ages 65 and older made up nearly 10 percent of the Dallas-Fort Worth area population—a number that is expected to grow to 17.3 percent by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The fastest-growing age groups through 2050 are expected to be seniors ages 70-79.
Seven long-term care facilities and two age-restricted communities are operating in Frisco. Another eight new long-term care facilities and two age-restricted housing communities are either
proposed or in progress.
Susan Lively, executive director for Parkview in Frisco, an age-restricted apartment community that is expanding to include assisted living and memory care, attributes the need for more senior housing to the aging baby boomer population.
“It’s baby boomers coming in,” Lively said. “With Frisco being this fast-growing little town, we’ve got so much coming in—we’ve got the Dallas Cowboys building down the street, we’ve got Toyota [bringing workers to Frisco]. If your parents are in Chicago, for example, you certainly want to bring them with you.”
Ramsey said Frisco’s senior assisted living population is composed of about 95 percent of people who have moved to the city to be near family, rather than those who chose Frisco strictly as a retirement community.
“Sometimes mom or dad are local, close to the area, but often they are not,” Ramsey said. “It’s the adult children who live here in Frisco, but the seniors are coming from everywhere.”
Frisco is attractive to working-age people because of the quality of life it offers people of any age, Ramsey said.
“[Adult children] are looking for a city that can accommodate their whole family—their children, their kids’ needs, but also their parents,” she said. “And Frisco has so many choices now where [it] didn’t just a few years ago.”
Lively said most of Parkview’s residents, who average in age from 82 to 85, are either people who grew up in Frisco or those who have moved here because their families are here.
The variety of neighborhoods and care facilities for seniors now offer more choices compared with several years ago when nursing homes were the only option, Lively said.
“Today’s seniors are not our grandparents of yesteryear—they want to stay active, they want to be fit, they want to have fun, they do lifelong learning, they volunteer, they give back to our community,” Lively said.
City Development Director John Lettelleir said many times people do not think about a community in terms of accessibility until something happens medically that changes their mobility in the home or city.
“Most people want to stay in their homes as long as they can, but if they have some type of event like [one] that [prevents them from driving], what happens to them?” Lettelleir said. “That’s going to be a national matter to deal with, but for local communities it’s how do you provide services for them? How do they get out and about?”
Lettelleir said the city’s Comprehensive Plan Update stresses ways to make the community more senior-friendly, including increasing walkability, shaded walkways, increasing trails, diversity of housing types, and interconnectivity between neighborhoods and retail.
Lettelleir said that although not all seniors are going to need or want to stay in the same house in which they raised their children, it is still important to keep them in the community for their institutional knowledge.
Senior housing options
From age-restricted communities such as Frisco Lakes and Parkview to independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing facilities, Ramsey acknowledged the variety of options for seniors in Frisco.
“I wouldn’t have said that three or four years ago, but just in the last four or five years, there has been a lot of construction in Frisco and still is. I feel like [senior living options are] really providing Frisco the choices that those families need,” Ramsey said.
The concept of seniors being able to age in place—or find different care options in the same city as their needs change—is growing in Frisco.
Parkview, for example, which only offers independent living, is expanding by more than 45,000 square feet to include 52 new assisted living and memory care residences.
“You want your residents to age in place,” Lively said. “Some of our residents are at the point where they need just a little bit extra TLC.”
One trend Frisco is starting to see is that of houses with a mother-in-law suite, Lettelleir said. Right now those homes only make up about 1 percent of Frisco’s housing permits, he said.
The other trend is that of smaller patio homes. Two developments on along Legacy Drive, Park West and The Canals at Grand Park, are building smaller homes with little to no yard to take care of—a trend Lettelleir said he expects to see copied in the future.
The Canals at Grand Park is also being touted as a multigenerational community including townhomes, patio homes, larger single-family homes and a senior living component as well as an assisted living and memory care component.
John Hodge, president of Arcadia Realty Corp., which is developing The Canals at Grand Park, said he thinks the new type of community will appeal to adult children relocating to the area and looking to move their parents.