Opportunities for Active Seniors Abound in Fayetteville

By Sharyn Matthews on April 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm EST
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PHOTO CREDIT: Martin Bennett

When you’ve enjoyed living and working in a community‚ there’s really no reason to leave at retirement age‚ especially when the community reaches out and invites you to stay.

Fayetteville has proven itself to be just that type of location – one that offers a list of amenities that appeals to longtime residents as well as to those moving here from other parts of the country.

"These days‚ Fayetteville has plenty of things to do – art‚ museums‚ opera‚" says Marshall Lanter‚ 75‚ who retired from the military at Fort Bragg 30 years ago and decided to make Fayetteville his permanent home.

"It’s the neighborhood in general‚" Lanter says in describing what drove his decision to remain in Cumberland County. "It’s a stable community that’s made considerable improvements through the years."

Garnet "Pinkie" Jackson‚ 95‚ recently gave up her home in the Haymount subdivision to move into Heritage Place‚ a retirement community in historic downtown.

Jackson says she’s pleased with the transition‚ a feeling that many Heritage Place residents echo‚ says Mike Ianucilli‚ executive director of the development that includes both independent and assisted-living apartments.

"We espouse the traditional values of Fayetteville and keep that continuity in place‚" he says.

Heritage Place also offers residents a full schedule of amenities‚ such as meals‚ housekeeping‚ a beauty shop and transportation.

Like Heritage Place‚ the 88-acre Village Green Resort Community is intent on providing a quality lifestyle. Residents have access to a nine-hole golf course and the company-owned Dark Branch Racquet and Swim Club. They also have the security of a continuum-of-care living arrangement that begins with independent living at The Carolina Highlands‚ progresses to assisted living at The Carolina Inn‚ and then on to more intensive services at the on-site Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center‚ a licensed skilled nursing care facility.

Sometimes catering to seniors means finding ways to help them stay active and intellectually challenged‚ says Celia McGuire‚ president of Global Tours and Travel.

Global Tours has experienced an increase in the number of seniors who are using the agency for travel needs‚ McGuire says. As a result‚ she offers discounts and organizes group tours in conjunction with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Senior Citizens centers.

"The mentality of traveling has changed through the years‚" McGuire notes. "Seniors are in better shape‚ live longer‚ have discretional income‚ time and want to enjoy traveling."

Of course‚ all this comes at a price.

"Not everyone is well off enough to have long-term care insurance or access to some of these new developments‚" notes Lanter‚ who serves as executive director of the Cumberland County Coordinating Council on Older Adults.

For those with fewer resources‚ the Council provides a wide range of services at low or no cost to clients.

"All of our services are designed to allow people to continue living in their homes a little longer‚" Lanter says.

Those services include in-home aides‚ meal delivery‚ home repair assistance and telephone reassurance‚ which taps volunteers to check on home-bound elderly folks each day.

Regardless of income level‚ many older residents say they appreciate the small-town friendliness of Fayetteville‚ along with its international flavor.

"For a city this size and because of its strong military presence‚ Fayetteville has more diversity than a large metropolitan area‚" Ianucilli says.

They also appreciate its high-quality health-care options‚ wide choices in restaurants‚ cheerful community festivals‚ outdoor recreation‚ art events and live music.

Dr. Franklin S. Clark‚ president of Village Green‚ says Fayetteville is an easy sell to retirees looking to relocate – whether from within or from outside the local community.

"You have the best of both worlds here – a medium-sized town without the congestion of a big city but with all of the convenient services‚" Clark says. "With our close proximity to beaches and world-class golf‚ we have just about any amenity that you’ll ever need."

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