Finding the right retirement housing can be challenging for all types of seniors, but gay and lesbian couples have a more difficult time locating a supportive environment. Studies indicate that they sometimes face discrimination in mainstream retirement communities so for many, the only choice to be together in their golden years is to conceal their sexual orientation.
A new senior housing development north of San Francisco both welcomes and caters to same-sex couples. Fountaingrove Lodge, the country’s first lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)-friendly retirement campus to offer resort-style living and continuing care services, was developed by Oakmont Senior Living, a family-owned business that has created more than 40 retirement communities in the western United States. The 10-acre rental property offers a place to enjoy a meaningful retirement in a warm, friendly atmosphere.
Located in a bucolic area of Western Sonoma County, Fountaingrove offers amenities such as indoor and outdoor dining rooms, trails, a wine bar, fitness center, and pool. The oak-studded, hillside site is surrounded by a golf course and sweeping wine country views.
Since late 2013, the development has welcomed over a hundred residents from across the country with a variety of accommodations, from independent living and continuing care to a 30-unit memory care center that offers specialized assistance for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
The 70 units—which include 64 apartments in a Craftsman-style lodge and six bungalows—range from 830 to 2,000 square feet. Each feature a full kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, as well as large windows and 10-foot-high ceilings. Outside the units, oversized hallways allow plenty of space for wheelchairs and walkers, and all levels are accessible by elevator.
As at any retirement community, life safety is top priority at Fountaingrove. Although the development is surrounded by vineyards, it’s just minutes away from medical services and is programmed with advanced emergency call and response systems. Residents can wear emergency response pendants, and stationary alert buttons are placed in all apartments and public restrooms to quickly notify staff of any medical needs.
Oakmont Senior Living’s founders, William and Cindy Gallaher, approached the project’s details with care and sought the input of LGBT friends, who formed an advisory group that helped guide decisions on aesthetics and features.
“It took seven years of dreaming, planning, and development before the doors opened and our first residents moved in, but everyone has the same response: It was worth the wait,” says Cindy Gallaher.
Project: Fountaingrove Lodge
Location: Santa Rosa, Calif.
Architect/Builder/Developer: Oakmont Senior Living, Windsor, Calif.
Site Size: 9.25 acres
Home Sizes: 830 square feet to 2,000 square feet