Active 55-Hear from residents at Lake Arrowhead & The Mansions Senior residents share their stories of finding the perfect metro Atlanta home
By Ken Abramczyk
Residents over the age of 55 relocate to Georgia for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they want to live in a warmer climate. They may want to live closer to children and grandchildren who work and live in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Maybe they are edging towards retirement and need a new place to live and want an invigorating lifestyle. Whether you are new to the Atlanta area or are a long-time resident, you have options available in 55+ communities across the region. From independent senior living properties to active adult communities, there’s something for everyone. KNOWAtlanta talked to two couples about their senior living choices and their favorite things about the communities they chose to call home.
Independent Senior Living: Frank and Frecia Barrett
Homeowners tired of yardwork and home repairs often explore options to downsize from homes to independent living apartments. Fortunately, metro Atlanta is replete with exceptional independent senior living facilities, which allow seniors to take care of a majority of their own daily living activities but offer an array of convenient services.
One such property is The Mansions at Decatur, which features conveniences and amenities to fit all lifestyles: a fitness and wellness center, onsite beauty and barber shop, sports lounge, card room, arts and crafts room and library. Each fully furnished apartment comes complete with stainless steel appliances, including a washer, dryer and dishwasher, as well as a kitchen that features granite countertops. Chef-prepared meals are provided three times a day Monday through Saturday and twice a day on Sunday.
Frank and Frecia Barrett decided to make a move after they realized how much time and energy they spent on home maintenance. They wanted instead to spend more time on activities and volunteer work. They also wanted convenience, ample space and certain amenities, which they found at The Mansions at Decatur, where they moved in May of 2018.
“We have lived in the Decatur area since high school, so naturally we wanted to stay in this area,” Frecia says. Yet, they had specific requirements for their new home. According to Frank, “We wanted outside access [with a patio or balcony], adequate space, good traffic flow and attractive interiors in the apartment. In the community, we wanted adequate and attractive common spaces, appetizing meals, helpful staff and cleaning services.”
The Mansions at Decatur “felt right for us the first time we toured,” Frecia says. “We left after that first visit knowing we wanted to live there.” Now, as residents, they love the roominess, the convenient floor plan, the balcony, the washer and dryer and the large baths. Additionally, the community offers many diverse activities to fit every taste. The activities director schedules events and outings according to residents’ preferences, including exercise classes, technology classes, wellness sessions and outings to restaurants and shopping destinations. “We have a great activities director,” Frecia notes. “The office staff is super friendly and helpful.”
The biggest surprise for the Barretts — and the best aspect of living in this senior living community — is the camaraderie among the residents, sharing activities and meals. “We never thought that making new friends would be [such] an added bonus,” Frank says. “We also realized how convenient and comfortable a downsized environment is. Another big advantage is freedom from home ownership so as to enjoy what life has to offer,” Frank says.
With camaraderie, convenience and activities as the main benefits at The Mansions at Decatur, the Barretts could not imagine living anywhere else. And they suggest that anyone considering a move into an independent senior living community review the many options of housing available. Frecia concludes, “I tell my friends to research what is available to suit their needs but make the move while you’re still active and enjoy all the amenities and friendships.”
2677 Lawrenceville Highway
Decatur, GA 30033
Active Adult Living: Kevin and Donna Carroll
For those who aren’t ready to give up the concept of homeownership but are looking for a more helpful senior living environment, today’s active adult communities are the perfect option. Typically offering smaller, comfortable, low-maintenance homes coupled with an array of resort-style community amenities and wellness activities, these developments are the perfect blend of active adults’ wants and needs.
Kevin and Donna Carroll wanted a place close enough to Atlanta to enjoy that bustle of the big city, yet a location that fulfilled a desire for a vacation getaway. The Michigan natives, who have lived in Atlanta for the past 20 years, wanted a home that would fulfill their current needs and the needs they knew they would have when they eventually retire.
“In Michigan we were surrounded by the Great Lakes and inland lakes that were just beautiful,” Kevin says. “We love the water and always wanted a place in Georgia that provided that same natural lake feel.” The couple found that mix of nature and lake living at Lake Arrowhead, a 540-acre lake 40 minutes northwest of Atlanta, in a community with pools, hiking and jogging trails, tennis courts and the Great Festival Park. The Carrolls moved two years ago to the Sanctuary Cove neighborhood.
They love Lake Arrowhead’s location in the foothills and the spectacular private pristine lake. They were drawn to the Lake Arrowhead community’s golf and pickle ball, hiking trails and an active calendar of events and activities. Additionally, their family needs were the key to their final decision. “Our family is very much a part of our day-to-day lives, and having a place where close and extended family could stay and enjoy the lake was our priority,” Donna says.
They also appreciate the superior homes that are available in the neighborhood. “Kevin has been in construction all of his adult life, from building custom homes to commercial and multifamily, so quality of construction was important,” Donna says. “We worked closely with [the builder and the architect] to make sure the design of the home had an open flow and plenty of natural light in order to take full advantage of the lake views from any window possible.”
These days, the Carrolls enjoy hosting parties where guests congregate around the island in the kitchen of their home. “I wanted a kitchen area that was large enough for us to entertain,” Donna explains. “Our island is oversized, which allows us to host events, using it as a serving area for parties or a conversation space for our neighborhood friends to drop by and visit.” And the Carrolls consider themselves fortunate to be surrounded by the “best of the best” when it comes to neighbors. “We have so much fun together and know that we can call on each other anytime for anything,” Donna adds. “The people we have come to know here are really extra special — so special that we call them family.”
And for their beloved family, which is growing with grandchildren and extended family, the Carrolls also wanted to live in a safe community. Lake Arrowhead offers a gated security entrance and, according to Kevin, “an onsite security team who also surveys the overall community.”
The Carrolls advise those considering moving to an active adult community to think about what they want now and in the future. “We don’t have as much time today to enjoy everything this community has to offer,” Donna states. “Knowing there will be a time when we will, and knowing what is available for us to take advantage of, is exciting.” And having the opportunity to build an affordable custom home on the water is a dream come true for the couple. Donna concludes, “Being able to walk out to the boat and go out and watch the sunsets, or enjoy tubing on the water with our kids and our grandson, has surpassed our expectations.”
2419 Lake Arrowhead Drive
Waleska, GA 30183