Source: NorthFulton.com

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Older adult living provides independence, proximity to family

by BETSY RHAME-MINOR

November 20, 2012

NORTH FULTON/FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The North Fulton and Forsyth County communities have no shortage of living arrangements for older adults, and the types of communities available are just as varied as the people moving into them.

All levels of care are available, from independent living on the property of a facility for older adults or a neighborhood that caters to this age group to homes that provide around-the-clock skilled care for their residents.

Many new residents of area assisted living facilities relocate to North Fulton from other areas.

"The majority of people are moving here to be near their kids," explained Julie Taylor, executive director of the Tapestry House in Alpharetta.

Similarly, said Jessica Carroll-Miller, director of social media for Alpharetta's Benton House and Benton House of Johns Creek, "Eighty percent of our residents have moved into our independent living or assisted living apartments to be closer to family."

Robin Abernathy at Cumming's Villas at Canterfield said it has more of a balance.

"We have about 50 percent who are local and 50 percent are trying to be closer to their adult [children]," she said.

At Cumming's The Orchards of Brannon Oak Farm, 80 percent of its residents from 1998 to 2007 were moving from the local area. From 2008 to 2011, 75 percent were moving in from out of state.

This independent living neighborhood is for active adults age 55 and older, and has a clubhouse and pool where many of the social activities take place, all facilitated by volunteer homeowners.

"[They] have taken the ball and run with it," said Mitch Block, director of sales and marketing for The Orchards Group. "The main benefit of living in the neighborhood is living…with people just like them. It makes people feel more comfortable."

Area staff and real estate experts know that while their new residents will spend time enjoying their nearby family members, they have plenty to do on their respective campuses to keep them as busy as they want to be.

"What they find here is they have friends, a life, things to do," Taylor said of their 32-room facility, which she describes as smaller and homey. "Most of our residents are pretty independent."

In some cases, Carroll-Miller said, residents get the opportunity to try some activities they've never done before. With outings and day trips around the area, she said, "They get to know their surroundings. [It] makes them feel rooted."

An active social life is common across these communities, as is the ability for residents to choose from a variety of possibilities how to fill their days.

"They are in control of the day, but help is just a call away," Carroll-Miller said.