Doug Burton knows when he has done something that displeases his mother.
“If I hear ‘Douglas,’ I’m in trouble,” he said.
He is 71. His mother, Alice Burton, is 96. They are close and like to poke fun at each other.
They live in the same retirement community, Vi at Bentley Village in North Naples, and are among a handful of two-generation residents in the community. Others include mother-and-daughter pairs Cindy and Lydia Kruesi and Claudia and Chris Curle.
Some live at opposite ends of the 156-acre campus or in nearby buildings. There’s no formula; it’s whatever fits each family’s needs.
When Burton and his wife, Linda, were still working and living in Maryland, they vacationed in Southwest Florida and rented condos nearby.
When the time came to retire and downsize, the decision was easy. They were familiar with the amenities at Vi at Bentley. The minimum age to move in is 62.
“We know a lot of people here because we’ve been coming for years,” Linda Burton, 69, said. “It’s very comfortable.”
Officials with other continuing-care retirement communities — CCRCs — say they have a handful of two-generation families.
“It’s not an unusual experience at all,” said Steve Brinkert, vice president of resident services at Moorings Park. The original Moorings Park campus is on 83 acres on Goodlette-Frank Road; a 16-acre campus is at Grey Oaks off Airport-Pulling Road.
Adult children see how their parents had the foresight to move into Moorings Park to not be a burden to their families, he said. The adult children do the same to not be a burden to their children.
“I don’t think I saw that four or five years ago,” Brinkert said.
It’s common to find multiple generations in retirement communities, with parents in their 90s and adult children in their late 60s to early 70s, said Bennett Napier, executive director of Florida Life Care Residents Association, an advocacy organization in Tallahassee.
“It’s also not uncommon to find cousins move in together, two sisters, two brothers etc.,” he said in an email.
LeadingAge Florida, an industry organization for retirement communities with 80,000 residents, is not aware of retiring baby boomers following parents’ footsteps into continuing-care retirement communities and does not track it, a spokeswoman said.
Friends in Maryland told the Burtons they were crazy to move into a retirement community.
“Most people have no clue what a CCRC is, and most people thought we were moving into an old people’s home,” he said. “There’s a lot of misconceptions.”
Vi at Bentley Village and other continuing-care retirement communities offer a full spectrum of lifestyle options for seniors who move, while still healthy and active, into apartments for independent living.
As they age and need more care, they move into assisted living, or a nursing home or memory-care facility on campus.
The more than 2,000 continuing-care retirement communities nationwide began rebranding in 2015 as “life care communities” to change how people perceive the lifestyle.
In Southwest Florida, the upscale retirement communities — which come with lofty entrance fees — promote active and engaged lifestyles with golf, tennis and fitness centers. There are multiple dining options on site, as well as social clubs and events.
Alice Burton and her late husband, John, moved to Vi at Bentley Village in 1999 from Fort Lauderdale. She moved a few years ago into the assisted living facility.
She’s pleased to have her son and daughter-in-law nearby.
“It’s great because he brought Linda,” she said.
They get together several times a week and always do Sunday brunch together.
If the light is on
Claudia Curle and her late husband, Frederick Curle, moved from Marco Island to Vi at Bentley Village in 1998. She still lives in the same apartment. She is 98.
Her daughter, Chris Curle, 71, and her husband, Don Farmer, 79, moved into an apartment in the next building in October 2016.
It’s heaven having her daughter and son-in-law one building away, Claudia Curle said.
“I think it is wonderful,” she said. “I am blessed. Everybody is very jealous.”
Chris Curle and her husband retired to Marco Island after careers as broadcast journalists at CNN and elsewhere. It was never a question whether they would move to Vi at Bentley Village, only when, she said.
Her mother’s social schedule is full.
“We have to get on her calendar,” Chris Curle said. “She has lots and lots of friends.”
Her mother is a night owl.
“I go to bed at night and see her light is still on,” Curle said.
A call every morning to check in
Cindy Kruesi, 71, moved from Bonita Bay into an apartment at Vi at Bentley Village in 2014.
Her 95-year-old mother had moved into her own apartment with her late husband, William, in 2000.
“We are at opposite ends of the campus,” Cindy Kruesi said.
Kruesi saw how happy her parents were at Vi and knew it was the right move for her. She lost sight in her left eye and wanted to be prepared in case she loses sight in her other eye.
It’s mutually beneficial to live near each other. Kruesi is still working, and her mother has a busy social life. They always do Sunday brunch together.
“My friends think I’m crazy,” Kruesi said. “I think the perception is it’s all old people on walkers. I haven’t regretted one day.”
Lydia Kruesi plays bridge often and takes her dog on walks, plus she walks for exercise.
“I walk 3 miles a day,” she said. “It’s a beautiful campus.”
Cindy Kruesi calls her mother every morning at 8:30 to check in.
“By then she has already come back from walking the dog and cleaning up from breakfast,” she said.
One morning, her mother didn’t answer the phone. Cindy Kreusi was at work and had neighbors go to her mother’s apartment. All was fine.
“Now, if there is a message on the machine, she calls me back,” she said
Freeman, Liz. (2018, March 13). Two generations living in same senior communities 'not unusual' in Collier. Naples Daily News. Retrieved from https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/health/2018/03/13/two-generations-senior-communities-may-more-common-than-you-think/400879002/