The deep recession is causing the middle tier of adult retirement communities, like the middle class, to disappear, leaving only the Too Much and Not Enough ends of the spectrum.
With this in mind, geezer future choices for 55 plus retirement living will be either the elegant Elephant Tusk hidden in a vibrant valley in the Southwestern U.S. or the Beaver Tooth plopped in a mosquito-filled section of the Okefenokee Swamp.
Let’s consider your choices.
“The Tusk,” as it is called by residents, has 5,000 square foot luxurious homes made from ancient stones carried off in the night from Mayan temple digs. Designer lighting throughout the home is pre-programmed to highlight residents as if they were movie stars.
At the “Tooth,” as the residents call it, home exteriors make use of recycled tires reinforced by interior panels of burnt wood from forest fires. Homes are “green” because fluorescent tubes throughout provides a slightly green tinge.
For recreation, there are two golf courses at The Tusk. One course meanders alongside the man-made, hand-crafted lake with water provided by snow imported from high atop Swiss mountains. The other golf course wanders amidst greens cut through the local national forest.
The Tooth has a volleyball court. Made of tar, it doubles as a parking lot for resident RVs. Fortunately, two trees were left on the lot. Players pretend that a piece of string tied to the trees is the top of the net. The volleyball club hopes to earn enough money to purchase a new volleyball with a bake sale for the Christmas pot luck party.
The 5-acre spa at The Tuskoffers senior residents a Swedish, Asian, and lesser known Burkina Faso style massage. All massages are performed by graduates of the German StrongArm Masseuse Academy.
The Tooth offers a community hot tub for its senior citizens. The fire under the tub provides intense foot heat guaranteed to scorch off at least one layer of foot skin. This can be followed by what the residents call a “cold peel.” For this treatment, local firemen drench the senior crowd with high pressure ice cold water from a fire hydrant.
Three restaurants grace The Tuskactive adult community. The CafÃ© Casa offers exotic coffee such as Kopi Luwak made from the pellets of the Indonesian Palm Civit. The Spa Restaurant offers healthy juice blends with fruits such as hand scrubbed blueberries and seedless strawberries. The Can-Oui Room is an evening restaurant, run by French chefs flown in weekly fromâ€¦well, France.
The Tooth does not have a restaurant per se, but Jake, in home 42 does sell what he calls ‘dinner fixins.’ This includes canned food rejected by the local 79-cent store and fresh road kill. His prices are considered quite reasonable.
Special events at The Tusk include Beach Day, during which sand is flown in from Hawaii, Snow Day, which features snow and hand crafted snowballs flown in from Colorado, and a yearly Craft Fair at which backwoods artisans are bagged, tagged, and flown in to create personal gifts for all residents.
The Tooth summer special events are Swimmin’ Hole days. When a heavy rainstorm is approaching a large hole is dug in the community park. When the hole is full of water, residents are invited to jump in. And, of course, in the winter there’s the annual Christmas pot luck party which features a Santa vs. St. Nicholas cage match.
As you would expect, amenities at The Tuskrepresent the finest in 55 plus services. A fully licensed doctor and staff man the heart resuscitation center year round. If you need to get to the local hospital, the Medevac helicopter will fly you, for a small fee, to be paid in advance, in cash. And, of course, the on-site jeweler, with two large body guards in tow, makes house calls. Caregivers, available for the infirmed, all have certificates in CPR, wheel chair rolling, and mobility cart maintenance.
The Tooth amenities are on a smaller scale. Many of the roads are paved, there’s a street light on every block, and trash service is offered for a small fee. A copy of the directions to the local hospital is available outside of Jake’s. If you need an emergency evacuation, a swamp boat can be rented. Gas extra.
Ready to move to a retirement community? If you have Too Much, The Tusk awaits. Send $99 for a map. If you have Not Enough, The Tooth is for you. Stop by Jakeâ€™s for a free map, hand drawn on a slightly used napkin.