Repositioning Communities for Today’s Seniors

Today’s seniors long for a lifestyle that fits their spirited outlook on the world. They want to live in a community that offers robust activities, a low-maintenance lifestyle and a setting that allows them to age-in-place. Beautiful apartments, libraries, cafes, water aerobics, walking paths and game rooms are just a few amenities that top their must-have list. This creates an opportunity for senior living operators and developers to reevaluate and re-position senior living communities to provide a broader range of choices for residents.

A perfect case study of this modern-day transition from outdated residential campus to lively senior living community can be found at Atherton Baptist Homes, a senior residential community located in Alhambra, California. The 95-year old community was ready to reposition itself as a leading senior living neighborhood offering residents the finest homes and amenities available.

At the outset, Atherton faced several challenges. Since its campus is landlocked on four city blocks Atherton needed to create a master-plan that would meet the changing needs of today’s seniors while still supporting its obligations to current residents and extending its financial viability into the future. The ability of management and current residents to embrace a collaborative vision for Atherton’s future would prove to be a key to success. After a thorough review of the community with a specialized senior living design-builder, Atherton developed and initiated a master plan for the community. The master plan took into account the strengths and weaknesses of the existing campus and envisioned the possibilities of a community with up-to-date housing at various price points, a renewed focus on green spaces, the financial strength to withstand the uncertainties of time, and a welcoming community for seniors of diverse cultural backgrounds. The outcome of this work is a six-phase development process that will take place over a projected period of time with the ability to re-evaluate the phases based on economic times, community needs and market conditions.

To begin making the vision a reality, Atherton and its design-builder brought together a team of investment bankers, financial advisors, architects, engineers, construction professionals, city officials and consultants. Known as The Courtyard, the first phase of the community recently opened to residents with the debut of 50 newly constructed luxurious, independent living apartments and an underground parking structure for 95 vehicles.

The Courtyard’s architectural design features open breezeways, a center courtyard with fountains, a pergola and walking paths, all seamlessly designed to incorporate the mature trees and cottage atmosphere of Atherton. The development is comprised of four integrated buildings with apartments designed as single-floor units, eliminating the need for residents to worry about multi-floor units. Each home features a private patio and balcony as well as a washer and dryer. The Courtyard complements Atherton’s campus amenities, which include an on-site coffee shop, restaurants and dining facilities, beauty salon, indoor swimming pool and spa, fitness center, chapel, game room, workshop and library.

Atherton is a prime example how a senior living community can reposition itself in today’s market while considering all aspects of its operation, including cost, economic challenges, resident needs and a changing demographic. As the senior population continues to grow and age, it is more important than ever that owners, operators and developers consider how a community will affect, and ultimately, improve its residents’ quality of life.

More information about Atherton and The Courtyard is available online at To learn more about repositioning senior living communities, visit

About the Authors

Bonita Patteson is the Director of Marketing for Haskell Senior Living Solutions (HSLS) and John R. Brendel is the Director of Senior Living for Haskell, the pre-eminent firm to turn to for total facility solutions in healthcare and senior living. More information is available online at


1. Atherton Baptist Homes’ new senior living development, known as The Courtyard, features 50 luxurious, independent living apartments.

2. The Courtyard’s architectural design incorporates many of the local area’s influences, featuring open breezeways, a center courtyard with fountains, a pergola and walking paths.

3. All apartments at The Courtyard are designed as single-floor units, eliminating the need for residents to worry about multiple levels.