LAKEWAY, Texas (KXAN) — When most people think of Austin, it’s usually viewed as a city for the young, but it turns out, the city and surrounding area are aging fast.
The U.S. Census Bureau released new numbers this week and found the median age is now 34 years old. It’s up two years from 2010.
As people age, more places are popping up to accommodate the older population. On Saturday, the Belmont Village Senior Living hosted its grand opening in Lakeway.
“The Austin-metro market is the second-fastest market for senior population growth across the country, so it made sense to expand in the Austin area,” said Doug Lessard, chief operating officer for Belmont Village.
It’s something politicians have also taken notice of.
“The median age is rising again for the eighth year in the row,” said Paul Workman, state representative for District 47. “We’re going to have more of the aging population in our area.”
The mayor of Lakeway Sandy Cox knows this firsthand.
“We have two really distinct populations,” said Cox. “We have a retirement population which really is what Lakeway was founded on and over the years we added another demographic which are young families. You might think those are two very distinct populations, but eventually, you’re going to have an aging population.”
This has become a reality for Maxine and Richard Nichols. The couple has been married for more than 63 years. They moved to Lakeway more than 30 years ago from Michigan.
“We were escaping the cold,” said Richard. “And, one of our daughters was already here so we had a reason to come.”
Now, the couple is making the move from their three-decade house they turned into a home into a senior living facility in town.
“I think when you get to our age, it’s time to think what’s going to happen next,” said Maxine. “As long as the two of us are together that’s fine, but if one of us is not here that’s not so good. So, if the transition is done first, then it’ll be much better, I hope.”
The couple says they realized life at home wasn’t getting any easier.
“After 60-something years of cooking, you get tired of cooking,” Maxine said.
They say the move and adjustment will be a challenge.
“I’m not used to living in a place quite so close,” Richard said. “My next door neighbor is probably not more than five steps away and maybe my next door neighbor to that is probably not much further either.”
However, the Nichols say they’re looking forward to it.
“It’s different, but we should be happy about it,” Richard said.
Belmont Village Senior Living in Lakeway will open later this summer. When the facility opens there will be 156 residents: 48 independent living, 55 assisted living and 53 under memory care services.
In Austin, the 55 and older population is estimated at about 158,329 or roughly 17 percent of the population as of 2016 data, according to the city’s Planning and Zoning department.
They say regionally, the 55 and older population in the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area, or five-county region including Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties, is estimated at about 387,271 or roughly 20 percent of the total population as of 2016 data.
KXAN reached out to several senior living communities across Central Texas to see what they offer:
- Amenities: Three world-class 18-hole golf courses, 2 state-of-the-art fitness centers, outdoor sports fields, a resort-style indoor and outdoor pools, lakeside amphitheater, dog park, community gardens, nine miles of walking trails
- Minimum age requirement: 55
- Levels of living: Independent Living
- Capacity of community: 10,000 homes when the community is fully built out
- Amenities: Beauty/Barber Shop, Walking Paths, Fitness Center, Game Room, Library, Courtyard/Garden
- Minimum age requirement: 55, unless there is a special need for Assisted Living
- Levels of living: Assisted Living and Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care
- Capacity of community: 68 apartments, 57 Assisted Living apartments and 11 Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care apartments
- Amenities: Access to the facility’s 11,000 square foot clubhouse that residents can use 24 hours a day. Residents can watch a movie in the media room and there’s a pool table, library and a swimming pool.
- Minimum age requirement: 55
- Levels of living: Active Adult community for those 55+ and older. It does not provide assisted living or nursing care services.
- Capacity of community: 184 apartment homes on 4 floors
- Amenities: Private dining room, library, fitness center, indoor heated pool/spa, bistro, movie theater, grand ballroom with reception area, creative arts center, 24-hour urgent response system, audio-visual fire alarm and sprinkler system, carports/underground parking, gated community
- Minimum age requirement: 62
- Levels of living: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Alzheimer’s Care and Medicare certified skilled nursing care
- Capacity of community: Independent Living Apartments: 153, Independent Living Cottages: 16, Assisted Living Apartments: 40, Memory Care: 20, Skilled Nursing/Rehab: 66 private rooms