December 6, 2010

Staying Local

Why more and more QC seniors are telling us they are “staying local” in the choice of their senior housing option.

danBy Dan Dolan
Dan Dolan Homes

Am I saying no QC seniors are retiring to Arizona, Florida or Texas anymore? Not at all. Are more QC seniors telling me they are not retiring to Arizona, Florida or Texas? Absolutely.

As readers of my monthly column in this publication already know, my weekend open houses from Muscatine to Clinton provide me with a wealth of input from seniors considering their retirement options. For some of my visitors the decision is imminent. They are looking for their senior housing now. For others, they are “just seeing what’s out there” or “thinking of doing something in a year or two.” But for most, whether it’s this year or two years hence, their decision will be to stay in the area. Ideally, maybe just a block or two from where they live now.

When we started our town home development in Northwest Crossing a few years ago, my colleague, Don Gibeault, kept close track of where our buyers were currently living. He stopped counting after the first 16 sales but he reported at the time that 13 of the first 16 buyers formerly lived virtually in view of their new neighborhood. They didn’t move very far from home.

“I’m a Bettendorfer and I’m not moving away”

When pressed for reasons for their decision on where they want to retire, quality of life expressed in some form or other seems to be the basis for their decision. “I’m a Bettendorfer” one lady told me a couple weeks ago, and she went on to explain that she had no plans to leave family, friends, church, doctors or her favorite hair stylist and move to Arizona as she got older.

Others have repeated that same sentiment to me along with their reasons why they didn’t want to leave their current lifestyle in Muscatine, Blue Grass, west Davenport and now East Davenport, the site of our newest development.

But it wasn’t always that way. Retirement often meant a move south. To be in the sun and avoid those Iowa/Illinois winters. Or to be part of one of those large “senior cities” with the daily 4 PM “Early bird” dinner specials and the rows upon rows of shuffleboards for outdoor entertainment. And of course, there’s still some of that. And did we mention year-round golf? For some, the Sunbelt experience remains a desirable option. And that’s great. But it no longer is the only option or even the more popular option. In fact, we see many Quad Citians moving back from a southern retirement to be closer to family and familiar institutions. Florida storms, Arizona (and elsewhere) illegal immigration issues and rising costs are but a few more of the reasons cited.

Much to the credit of local builders and developers, another major influence in retaining our senior population closer to home is the wider range of favorable senior housing options now offered in the Quad Cities—options that were largely unavailable here until fairly recently. For those who may want a water view or access retirement home experience, local developers are now offering attractive homes on both sides of the river. Golf course retirement homes are also available at a number of Quad City sites. And for those who don’t want to stray far from their Bettendorf roots or their East Davenport haunts the latest Dan Dolan development at Stone Gate East in East Davenport is meeting with an enthusiastic response. In fact, a half dozen or so potential buyers of our yet-to-be-built new town homes there have already reserved their home sites before we have had time to put a shovel in the ground.

There may have been a time when seniors had to go to the Sunbelt to get a home with all-on-one-floor living, also. Traditional QC homes had the laundry in the basement. Or there were steps to get from the garage to the kitchen. Or taking a shower meant stepping over and into a tub. But no more. For instance, all Dan Dolan town homes have stepless entry, step-in showers, wider doorways, first floor laundry, the higher comfort toilets, lever handles and an insulated concrete wall between units to help insure quiet.

Seniors with a housing need this coming spring of even in the next year or two are encouraged to come out and visit with us at Stone Gate East in East Davenport. We’re a couple blocks or so south of the new Eastern Avenue library and just below 53rd St. The iron gates are gone and so are the gargoyles and the fountains. But in their stead you’ll find one of the most attractive new developments at one of the most convenient sites where there’s a choice of condo-style or side-by-side and all-on-one-floor town home living. Our Realtor hosts are on site Sundays from 1 to 4 PM or by appointment any time. Call me at 563-570-1460 and we’ll “Make it Happen” for you.