In today’s youth-obsessed culture, referring to midlife as the “golden years” seems counterintuitive. But think about it: career and family responsibilities have made way for an exciting time where you actually have time to pursue interests you’ve put off for years, such as living a more active lifestyle, volunteering and making new friends.

The time is now for Dallas-area seniors to begin this new chapter of life, and these independent and assisted living communities have the resources to make it happen.

Situated on 20 acres of land near the shores of White Rock Lake stands C.C. Young, a continuing care retirement community where as Russell Crews, C.C. Young president and CEO, says, “People don’t come to retire: They come to live.”

And that they do — the faith-based, not-for-profit community boasts eight buildings and offers services from independent and assisted living to memory care, home health and hospice for those age 55 and better. Since 1922, C.C. Young has been dedicated to helping seniors enjoy an active, fulfilling lifestyle by providing personalized care and support.

“Beyond providing living and health services, C.C. Young offers a variety of programming intended to educate and enrich the lives of those it serves, both on campus and in the community,” says Jennifer Griffin, director of communications and public relations with C.C. Young.

“One way to see if C.C. Young is a good fit is to participate in activities at The Point, Center for Arts and Education, which offers memberships for residents and non-residents,” Griffin says.

Memberships include discounts for educational programs and computer classes, and free monthly art gallery shows.

A recent lecture, free and open to the public, was titled, “Art and Alzheimer’s: A Personal Journey.” It featured Cognitive Dynamics foundation founder/president, Dr. Daniel Potts; Meredith Pond, a master trainer with the Alzheimer’s Association’s memories in the making program; and Molly Middleton Meyer, founder of Mind’s Eye Poetry.

But the opportunities for life enrichment at C.C. Young don’t stop there.

“Through a collaboration with over 60 area and national organizations, C.C. Young has enhanced its services so that each individual can grow in body, mind and spirit, no matter their life circumstances or limitations,” says Denise Aver-Phillips, vice president of community outreach.

These partnerships within the local community are a high priority at C.C. Young, connecting seniors to everything that Dallas has to offer. Additional partners include Bass Performance Hall, Dallas Zoo, Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Center, to name a few.

Community engagement is further enriched by volunteers of all ages and beliefs from church, youth and school groups, as well as community volunteer organizations.

“Volunteers help out with everything from Mardi Gras parades and Academy Award red carpet makeovers to painting fences, planting and beautifying the campus — generally just spreading the love,” Aver-Phillips says.

Speaking of beautifying, C.C. Young recently unveiled a brand new sculpture pavilion within the community’s central park. The pavilion, which is open to the public, was dedicated at the annual Grandparents Day celebration.

Juliette Fowler is another centrally located retirement community where Dallas-area seniors can grow.

With its convenient Lake and Garden District location near shopping, restaurants, the Arts District and major medical centers, Juliette Fowler Communities is designed for today’s senior, offering residential and assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation.

“We tend to get the resident who says ‘I’ve lived in East Dallas my whole life, and I would prefer not to leave,’” says Tammy Vines, director of community relations. “When you know where your grocery store and your dry cleaner is, you don’t want to leave that routine, and you don’t have to at Juliette Fowler.”

Along with the security of familiarity comes a wide range of activities to maintain longstanding interests or cultivate new ones.

Amid 16 acres of park-like grounds and gardens, seniors are invited to participate in frequent and innovative programs that support wellness, such as art, adaptive dance therapy and music classes, to name a few.

“Other offerings include educational programs taught by Dallas County Master Gardeners, wellness lectures and monthly discussion groups,” Vines says.

Since 1892, Juliette Fowler Communities has gone beyond senior care to nurture intergenerational relationships — something that founder Juliette Peak Fowler envisioned from the start.

“Our residents enjoy making connections with their campus neighbors at the Ebby House, which provides housing and assistance for foster children who have aged out of the system,” Vines says.

“I like to say that the Ebby House girls have about 350 grandparents. The older residents can learn and stay current from the younger; the younger can learn life skills and wisdom from the older.”

Additionally, volunteer opportunities bring hundreds of individuals to Juliette Fowler Communities annually to provide thousands of hours of volunteer work at the campus and with the residents.

“Students from Woodrow Wilson High School are frequent visitors, and later this month, children from local churches will come dressed up to trick-or-treat on Halloween,” Vines says.

At Monticello West — another community in Dallas where opportunities abound for seniors to pursue personal development — the recently expanded activities department boasts two fulltime activities directors for independent living and assisted living, plus another one for memory care.

“Our goal is to get residents out in the Dallas area to enjoy marvelous opportunities such as the Perot Museum, Dallas Arboretum, The Meadows and Klyde Warren Park,” says sales and marketing director Nan Mulvaney.

Monticello West has been a leader in senior care and assisted living in Dallas since 1970. The community is operated by Life Care Services, which manages more than 28,000 people residing in senior living communities throughout the country.

“Critical to the overall atmosphere is the combined sense of community with high-quality healthcare,” Mulvaney says.

Staff members provide a foundation for the high quality care, which is noted by the industry’s coveted five-star rating. Monticello West provides the full range of care — including all levels of assisted living to advanced memory care — so residents remain in a familiar environment.

Recently Kate Marshall was named the director of memory care at Monticello West, further enhancing the guidance and quality of care available onsite.

“Our team has an average tenure of 13 years, and some employees who have been with us for more than 20 years,” Mulvaney says.

“The special attention we provide to our residents is what sets us apart.”

For example, Monticello West chef Taylor Self works to get to know residents’ food preferences to provide clean, healthy menu choices. Self was trained at the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

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