A senior living community coming together near Chicago is tailoring its services and amenities in an effort to attract South Asian and Indian older adults.
Verandah Senior Living, the planned $43 million community in Hanover Park, Illinois, will ultimately have 55 townhomes, 72 condos and an 80-bed assisted living and memory community.
Four of those townhomes are due to welcome residents this September, with prices starting at $290,000 for a two-bedroom residence. Five others are currently presold. The remainder of the townhomes are set to come online throughout the remainder year and into 2020, with the condominiums coming next, and the assisted living component arriving last.
On the assisted living side, monthly rates will range from roughly $4,000 to $7,000, with Bourbonnais, Illinois-based Journey Senior Living serving as the community’s operator.
Other senior living projects around the country have found success serving specific ethnic and cultural populations. For example, Redmond, Washington-based Aegis Living has two communities designed with Chinese American older adults in mind. Syracuse, New York-based Peregrine Senior Living is in the process of developing an assisted living/memory care community on a Native American reservation. And ShantiNiketan has created a 55-plus community to serve Indian retirees in Florida.
At the center of the Verandah community will be a clubhouse with a recreation room, gym and activity studio, computer room and library, beauty shop and theater. While Verandah opened a scaled-down, 4,500-square-foot clubhouse as part of its first construction phase this month, the community eventually will build a larger clubhouse in its place.
One of the focal points of the clubhouse is a dining venue that serves global fare and vegetarian cuisine. The clubhouse will also serve as a staging ground for resident activities that include Bollywood film screenings, yoga, meditation and gala-style festivals or holiday celebrations with singing and dancing.
The overall goal is to develop a multicultural melange of housing options, amenities and dining in an “East meets West” philosophy, according to Dr. Anuja Gupta, principal and managing partner of the developer behind the project, Aman Living.
“It’s a fusion of cuisines, activities and engagement,” Gupta told Senior Housing News. “We will have regular American cuisine, we’ll have Indian food, and if people of other cultures come and live here, we’ll have their foods, too.”
Staffers who work at the community will also speak a multitude of languages, Gupta added.
A cardiologist by trade who dabbled in real estate over the years, Gupta first conceived the idea for Verandah after a conversation with Journey Senior Living President Blair Minton. According to Gupta, Minton said that while Journey has 40,000 beds of assisted living in Illinois, it didn’t have any Indian residents living there at the time.
“So I started wondering … when the South Asian community needs assisted living services, where do they go?” Gupta said. “Turns out, they don’t seem to be able to make the usual American-style assisted living communities work for them.”
Instead, they age in their homes, with family members or hired help serving as caretakers when they need it, she explained. But that may change with Verandah, which hopes to serve as a magnet for that demographic of older adults.
“We bought this property in this area because it’s like the center of the South Asian community [in the Chicago area],” Gupta said. “Verandah is 15 minutes away from temples and places of worship and four big ethnic grocery stores. We also have two medical centers close by.”
If Verandah resonates with its residents, Gupta said there may be opportunities to expand the model elsewhere. But, she hasn’t made any concrete plans to that end — yet.
“I want to see how this performs,” Gupta said. “I’m one of the really conservative people [in development]. It’s a big project and we’re doing it in small phases.”
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