Smaller Homes are the “Right-Size”

Today’s trend of decluttering and simplified living has become popular among all generations. Along with the benefits of easier maintenance and upkeep, people are realizing the cost savings that come with smaller, sustainable, energy-efficient living. However, many people are wary of the prospect of downsizing. And, it’s not just baby boomers who are joining in the “right-sizing” mind-set. Many millenials are also searching for homes with less maintenance and taking advantage of the energy savings of owning a smaller home. Living more sustainably and saving on energy costs are big draws in the attraction of downsizing,

A recent article published by AP News breaks down the benefits of finding a “right-sized” home. They write, “It scares people to think of moving into a smaller space, but every single person I interviewed who has made the transition says they are so happy they did.”

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Home Design Tips For Senior Housing

One of the largest generations is now looking for a new type of home. Baby Boomers are in the market for smaller homes so that they can age in place within their existing communities. However, very few homes incorporate all the features to help achieve this goal. An remarkable 3.5% of all homes in the U.S. include features that make it accessible for senior. Some of these senior features include extra-wide hallways and doors, main-floor master bedrooms, and handrails in the bathroom.

According to a recent article from the National Association of Homebuilders they predict that people 65 and older will jump from 26% of the population to 34% percent in 2038, with the fastest-growing age group among them in the 80+ category. However, the report notes that they’re less likely to move, with only 3.6% of individuals aged 65-79 — compared to 13.6% of those under 50 — relocating in 2017-2018, more than half of which relocated within the same county.

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Seniors looking for room in Davis


By Bill Powell and David Thompson Special to The Enterprise April 15, 2018

“Each day I get five calls from low-income seniors looking to find housing in Davis,” says Susan at Shasta Point Retirement Community. “And each day at least one senior arrives at Shasta Point anxious to get housing and hoping by turning up they may have a better chance than just calling.” They don’t.

Every day there are five to 10 emails or phone calls from low-income seniors to the two staff members at Eleanor Roosevelt Circle. At ERC about three seniors per day walk through the door hoping to get a place. They can’t.

In 2018, there is a waiting list of 441 seniors for the four largest Davis senior communities; Davisville (70), Shasta Point (67), Eleanor Roosevelt Circle (59) and Walnut Terrace (30). In 2017 there were a total of 14 turnovers. Only 14 of the 441 waiting in line got in. At that rate, it would be 31 years before the last of those seniors get housed. The actual wait for an extremely low-income senior can be from three to five years.

It is 16 years since the last affordable senior-housing development was given the go-ahead in Davis. Without citizen approval of the West Davis Active Adult Community, there is no other affordable senior housing community planned for Davis.

When it works

ERC was developed by a partnership of Davis Senior Housing Communities and Neighborhood Partners. The city of Dixon saw the ERC model of housing and social services and asked us to replicate it in Dixon. In a short time, a developer donated 5 acres of land for Heritage Commons to meet their inclusionary requirement.

A first phase of 60 apartments was built. Three years later a second phase of 54 were built and next year another 44 will be built creating a total of 158 apartments. Earlier this year, the city of Woodland approved a 4-plus-acre site for DSHC/NP to build a similar affordable senior campus of about 120 apartments. The senior affordable campus with social services is a very effective way to serve many seniors with a range of needs.

After 33 Community Meetings and 18 Commission Meetings and since July of 2016, Neighborhood Partners in partnership with Davis (Delta) Senior Housing Communities are proposing a state-of-the-art, 150-apartment, senior affordable housing campus at the West Davis Active Adult Community. The location is great, being adjacent to Sutter Hospital, Communicare, medical offices and not far from the Marketplace.

However, at the last minute, some are calling for the affordable land to be divided into two different uses, and that might mean losing up to 75 senior apartments out of the 150. After two years of planning and community review that would scuttle all the work done by Davis Senior Housing Communities to build a 150-apartment senior campus for Davis seniors most in need.

NP and Delta are most grateful to David Taormino and his family for their generous gift of land for affordable senior housing. It all began when David and his wife saw an anguished senior downtown that had missed the last bus to Eleanor Roosevelt Circle and did not know how she would get home. David and his wife gave her a lift and in doing so he learned about the value of ERC for low-income seniors in our community.

When he began thinking of WDAAC, David realized that finally he could do something about that problem. Donating triple the land required land to create an affordable community of 150 apartments with services for seniors is a godsend.

We are facing a tsunami of seniors. And without the WDAAC proposal passing there will be no affordable homes for tomorrow. Sheila Allen, Executive Director of Yolo County Healthy Aging, has shared with us the statistics about the future for Davis seniors. In five years time, when the first phase of DSHC’s senior housing opens its doors at WDAAC there will be over 16,000 seniors in Davis over 55.

Using Eleanor Roosevelt Circle as a laboratory we have learned a great deal. ERC was the first in the region to have a social services coordinator on site to help seniors who benefitted from services and programs. Of the ERC population 25 percent of the seniors are 80 years or older, and 60 percent of our residents have an average income less than $12,100 and are regretfully far below the extremely low-income number. Seniors of that income get immense health benefits from having access to social services.

Cost savings

The DSHC campus at Dixon proved to us that building 150 affordable senior apartments in one senior campus created savings in the construction stage and additional savings later, in the management-and-operation stage. For example, needing to build just one community building creates a savings of about $1 million dollars. With one architect, one set of plans, shared infrastructure and the same builder we gain savings for the second phase.

But, in particular, the critical human value is in having a large enough senior campus to increase the type of services we can provide on site such as social service coordinators and working links to the programs of the county agencies and nonprofits. By having a campus community we can use the very limited resources to serve one of the most at risk populations in Davis. Lonely seniors scattered around Davis are the least likely to be helped and most likely to be neglected.

Robin Affrime of Communicare told us, “that in the last five years the low income senior population using the Davis Clinic has doubled from 3 percent to 6 percent.” More importantly, she recounted, “there is a wave of senior poverty just around the corner, ages 45-64 has risen to being 19 percent of their 26,500 Davis patient visits.”

The Davis City Council will make the final decision next month. If you would like to help us get our 150-affordable senior campus approved, contact Bill Powell at or David Thompson at

 Bill Powell is president of Delta Davis Senior Housing Communities and David Thompson is with Neighborhood Partners. The two groups have already developed three local senior communities with a fourth starting construction next year. See our plans for DSHC at WDAAC at

The Keys to Super Longevity

Psychologist Susan Pinker presents fascinating evidence on the keys to living a long, healthy life. Researching the Italian island of Sardinia, home to more than six times as many centenarians as the mainland and ten times as many as North America give insight to what it takes to live to 100 and beyond. Here’s the TED Talk:


Davis Enterprise: West Davis Active Adult Community in 2018

The Davis Planning Commission will conduct public hearings on proposed projects in Davis, including the West Davis Active Adult Community. The Davis Enterprise recently published this article outlining the details of the community and information every Davis resident should know.

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The Cost of Loneliness

Family, connections, friendships. These are aspects of a persons life that will naturally get smaller as we grow older. But, what is the true cost of loneliness? This insightful article explains that loneliness can actually have a price tag. Regardless, we spend so much of our life nurturing our relationships and purpose, why let it go to waste as we age. This research only inspires the concept of mixed age, mixed interest communities to become more and more popular.

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Healthy, Happy Aging

What brings health, happiness and energy to one’s life varies person to person. One thing is for sure, every individual needs some type of outlet that provides excitement and interest. This is essential to keep a youthful approach and delay the aging process.

This article explores some interesting ways seniors are avoiding loneliness and  staying healthier mentally and physically.

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Elder Orphans Unite

With social media, you never fear being alone. At least this is the message “elder orphans” are spreading. A new Facebook group has sparked the discussion among childless adults (55 years +) who realized after a life of careers or taking care of aging parents or siblings there can be challenges with little to no family as you head into your “golden years.”

This article and video explores the benefit of having an online family and support can only be a click away. Click here


Meetings Continue For West Davis Active Adult Community

WDAAC greenwayA series of meetings is underway, offering Davis residents insight on an active adult community proposed for West Davis.
At Shasta Drive and West Covell Boulevard, the West Davis Active Adult Community is designed for current Davis residents. It features 325 small to medium single-story homes, and affordable senior apartments. About 80 percent of the homes would be restricted to residents 55 and older. Since the project is on the city’s periphery, it would go before Davis voters, likely in spring 2018, if approved by the City Council.
“This is the best location for a wide range of active adults and seniors,” developer Dave Taormino said at his April 12 presentation to neighbors at Chavez Elementary School. The first of an estimated 45 meetings started earlier this year in West Davis – closest to the site. They will continue, about two a month, progressing through Central, East and South Davis. Residents receive hand-delivered invitations and brochures when their neighborhood meeting is scheduled. For more information, call 530-231-5519.
The West Davis Active Adult Community would be across from University Retirement Community, and close to Sutter Davis Hospital and other medical offices. Other project amenities include a public health and wellness center, pool, 2.6 miles of walking paths, an ag buffer, restaurant with outside seating, and expansion site for University Retirement Community or similar medical facility.
Unlike Sun City projects or other senior housing developments, WDAAC is designed to draw residents from within Davis, which would free up larger homes for young families. The dropping birthrate in the Davis Joint Unified School District forced the district to open spots for some 650 transfer students from outside the area this year. To sustain its ADA revenue, the district increased the number of transfer students by more than 100 since 2013-14. Outsiders make up 7.6 percent of the student body for the 2016-17 school year.
With college students and senior populations increasing in Davis, young families are often priced out of the housing market. Meanwhile, many empty nesters in town have larger homes than they want, but few alternatives for smaller, single-story homes in Davis. About 5,000 homes – 25 percent of those in Davis – are owned by residents age 50 or order.
WDAAC is designed with that in mind. Plans are the result of community focus groups, and draw expertise from local business, health, university, housing and clean energy partners. “Our plan combines attractive Davis neighborhood elements with updated amenities for the needs of older Davis residents,” the WDAAC Planning Group said. “We are rearranging, reinterpreting and innovating a variety of features with sustainability and energy efficiency,” Members of the group include longtime Davis real estate broker Dave Taormino, president of Taormino and Associates; and David J. Thompson, co-principal of Neighborhood Partners.
Plans for the 74-acre site call for 505 housing units. Of those, 284 would be single-family detached homes, 41 would be single-family attached homes, and 150 would be affordable senior apartments. Another 30 are anticipated for University Retirement Community expansion or a similar use. Single-story homes include: 1,400-1,800-square-foot houses along the greenway; 1,100-1,350-square-foot bungalows; 900-1,200-square-foot cottages; plus, small builder lots to accommodate custom or special needs. Estimated sale prices for the pre-planned single-family homes range from the mid-$300,000s to $700,000, and could be available in 2020.
The mission of the West Davis Active Adult Community is “to elevate ‘age in place’ to ‘thrive in place,’ with a thoughtful neighborhood design, blending the inclusiveness of Davis with principles that enhance older adult lifestyle.” Visit its website at


Gym Location Can Effect Workout Frequency

Researchers have found that the location of a gym can actually effect the frequency of visits. Longer commutes to the gym are associated with fewer visits. As seen in The Wall Street Journal article titled “How Close Does Your Gym Need To Be?,” people are likely to workout more often when a gym is located within a couple miles of their home. The West Davis Active Adult Community makes it easy to adhere to an exercise regime since all residents are welcome to visit the on-site Wellness Center, which includes a health club, yoga rooms, and pool.

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