Cary Seniors Enjoy the High Life

Written By Aubrey Jones

Since being ranked No. 5 in Money magazine’s top 100 places to live in 2006, Cary’s population has increased by more than 30,000 residents. While most consider Cary to be a place to raise a family, Cary has a population of more than 22,000 citizens age 55 and older, making it a popular destination for retirees.

Along with retirement come the options of living in a senior-oriented community, where life is maintenance free with options ranging from independent to medically assisted living. Living in a senior community is not only a great way to avoid the many hassles of property maintenance, but is a method to discover the fun in life after retirement. All of the retirement communities in Cary offer a variety of programs and activities perhaps prompting some seniors to rediscover hobbies they had enjoyed in the past. 

Glenaire Retirement Community
Dave and Mariam Timothy were able to step back into their dancing shoes during the Presbyterian Homes PHI Senior Olympics at Glenaire Retirement Community in October. The Timothys participated in the ballroom dancing competition.

“We used to dance in Latin America when we were young. We were good dancers but we haven’t danced in years,” Mariam explained. Despite the lapse in time, the Timothys picked up right where they left off while dancing the fox-trot to Astaire’s 1935 classic, “Cheek to Cheek.”

October marked the second year for the PHI Senior Olympics, and Glenaire faced its sister communities, River Landing in Colfax and Scotia Village in Laurinburg. “It’s a great time for some friendly competition, renewing friendship between the communities and even for the seniors to meet new people,” said Glenaire executive director Sean Hvyett.

Glenaire cheerleaders perform during opening ceremonies at the Second Annual Presbyterian Homes PHI Senior Olympics at Glenaire Retirement Community. Front row, from left, Hazel Bryant, Mary Reams Maynard; back row, Ann Clark and Danny White.
Glenaire cheerleaders perform during opening ceremonies at the Second Annual Presbyterian Homes PHI Senior Olympics at Glenaire Retirement Community. Front row, from left, Hazel Bryant, Mary Reams Maynard; back row, Ann Clark and Danny White.

Hvyett also explained that wellness was the purpose of the event, to keep seniors active. “They train for the events all year long, and our wellness coordinator, Wendy Heinzman, has been working on this event since last October.”

While the excitement of the Olympics keeps residents on top of their volleyball, swimming and ballroom dancing skills, it also keeps them at the top of their knowledge. This year, nine seniors were chosen to compete in the quiz bowl, which was hosted by WRAL Brain Game host and former WRAL traffic reporter Mark Roberts.

“I have a soft spot for seniors,” Roberts admitted. “When I was in the news business, there wasn’t a lot of time for volunteer work, so I love to do what I can now.”

Perhaps the most surprising event was the cheerleading competition, in which seven of Glenaire’s finest ladies danced to “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls. More than 500 seniors and guests attended the PHI Olympics, and they have already started planning for the third Olympics to take place at Scotia Village next year.

Glenaire is one of the many retirement communities in the area to offer different stages of living from independent living in cottages, to apartment style rooms with assisted living to medical assisted living. The Glenaire campus includes two dining rooms, a library, a bank, a barber shop, and recreation and game rooms for entertainment. Glenaire has the capacity to hold 400 seniors — 280 in independent living and 120 in assisted living.

Manor Village at Preston
When Garth Mann was looking for a retirement community in which to place his aging mother, he couldn’t find anything that fit his standards. Mann decided the only solution to his problem was to start his own retirement center where his mother could be cared for and comfortable. The result is Manor Village, a collection of independent living retirement communities located in Calgary, Scottsdale and now at the corner of Cary Parkway and Chapel Hill Road in Cary.

Manor Village at Preston is called the “Community with Heart,” for many reasons. Staff members take a wellness approach to their residents’ health rather than an illness approach. Registered nurse Suzen McCann worked with Duke for 25 years and is now joining Manor Village at Preston as its full-time nurse. With health in mind, Manor Village also has a first-class chef, Gui Bross, who formerly worked at The Umstead Hotel and Spa and The Fearrington House, on board.

Manor Village at Preston chef, Gui Bross, prepared food for the grand opening event.
Manor Village at Preston chef, Gui Bross, prepared food for the grand opening event.

Along with five-star meals and complete health care, seniors who decide to live at Manor Village will have use of recreation areas in the building where they live. A full-size movie theater complete with retro art deco furnishings will offer movie nights for the seniors and their guests.

With the future in mind, Manor Village at Preston is open-minded about the space it offers to its future residents. “Right now we offer 166 independent living units with supportive home health care services,” explained Tom Stewart, administrator of Manor Village. “Eventually, we would like to build to continuing care.”

SearStone
Developed by Bill Sears, SearStone is a unique senior community in Cary that is described more like a country club than a retirement community.

“SearStone is the result of a local architect’s vision to transform his family’s farm into a community he can share with his neighbors,” said Laura Lowe, director of marketing and sales.

SearStone will provide opportunities for seniors to be social within the SearStone community and with outsiders. “The planned Specialty Village, open to the public, will allow SearStone members to connect with the Cary community,” Lowe stated.

An aerial map of  SearStone offers a view  of the complete property.
An aerial map of SearStone offers a view of the complete property.

Included on SearStone’s campus will be a large clubhouse with an aquatic center, health and fitness club, restaurants, private dining room, cocktail lounge and meeting space for scheduled activities. SearStone offers amenities for five types of living: 55-plus active adult, independent living, assisted living, a skilled nursing facility and continuing care retirement.

Phase one construction will begin early this year, and will consist of 171 units from 1,000-square-foot one-bedroom apartments to 3,900-square-foot homes with garages or underground parking.

Residents can also feel financially secure about purchasing a unit at SearStone because the entrance fees are 100 percent refundable, so if the economy takes a turn for the worse, there are no financial obligations.

Whether you’re closing in on 55, looking for a place to live or have parents you want closer to you, Cary’s options are as diverse as the community itself.

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