By Jan Cullinane
According to the U.S Census, almost three million gays and lesbians turned 55 in 2005; by 2010 that number will be closer to four million – and these are probably conservative numbers. Many gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people feel that a traditional active-adult community or other communities may not welcome them.
Gays and lesbians often do not have the support systems that heterosexuals do, such as children who may care for them as they age, or living with a partner who can oversee their care. They may also have concerns about discrimination, isolation, and the need to hide their sexual orientation.
To serve this growing market, a number of gay/lesbian retirement communities are now open, being developed, or have been proposed. Some examples:
The Palms of Manasota (www.palmsofmanasota.com or 941-722-5858) is in Palmetto, Florida, between Sarasota and St. Petersburg. As its website states, it is “America’s first gay and lesbian retirement community.” New villas are available for under $300,000, and a resale of a single-family home lists for $325,000. Future plans include a clubhouse, pool, and an assisted-living facility.
The Resort on Carefree Boulevard (www.resortoncb.com or 239-731-6366), for women only, is located in Fort Myers, Florida. The community has 278 manufactured homes and RV sites. Although not an age-targeted community, the residents’ ages range from 40 – 85. Lots start under $100,000, and manufactured homes under $200,000. The Resort’s developers, Gina Razete and Cathy Groene, are developing Carefree Cove (www.carefreecove.com or 336-385-1136), a gay and lesbian community of 90 single- family homes in Zionville, NC.
RainbowVision Santa Fe (www.rainbowvisionprop.com or 505-474-9696) had its official ribbon cutting in October 2005. Although it’s touted as a resort retirement community, there is no age restriction, and assisted living care will be available at this 146- unit neighborhood. Amenities include concierge service, a spa/fitness center, dining facilities, and meeting rooms. The 60 condos have been sold; monthly rentals for the independent and assisted-living residences range from $2,600 to $4,100. According to Joy Silver, CEO/President of RainbowVision Properties, RainbowVision Palm Springs will be their next community.
Birds of a Feather (www.flock2it.com or 888-425-3121) is located in Pecos, New Mexico, about 25 miles southeast of Santa Fe. Lot sizes from one-fourth to approximately one acre in this 140-acre community run between $60,000 and $110,000. Custom homes prices per square foot range from $170 to $250, and pre-designed 1,620 square-foot casitas begin under $300,000 (lot prices not included).
Additional proposed communities/developers include:
GL Eldercare (Los Angeles)
Open House (San Francisco)
Oaks at Fountaingrove (Santa Rosa, CA)
Stonewall Communities (Boston)
Our Town (Peter Lundberg, developer).
We’ve all heard of AARP, but did you know there is also GLARP (Gay and Lesbian Association of Retiring Persons, Inc.)? The purpose of this organization is “to develop and operate retirement communities that are openly LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) friendly and to promote, provide and support education on aging.” Founded in 1996, GLARP is also planning its own CCRC (continuing care retirement community) in Palm Springs, CA, where residents can age in place – moving from independent living to assisted care to skilled nursing care if necessary. The site also provides information about existing and developing LGBT retirement communities. You can contact GLARP through its website (www.gaylesbianretiring.org) or 310-709-8743.
One last thought
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination – anyone who desires to live in a gay-friendly setting is welcome in any of these communities! <<
Jan Cullinane is the co-author of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Rodale).
Gay and Lesbian Retirement Resources
Gay and Lesbian Retirement Communities
Gay and Lesbian Retirement Housing
If you enjoyed this article, read: