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Assisted-living centers seeing boom in Colorado Springs

WAYNE HEILMAN
The Colorado Springs Gazette

A burst of development of assisted-living centers will add nearly 400 living units to the Colorado Springs market by mid-2014, driven by a growing number of aging baby boomers, an improving local housing market and waiting lists at many existing facilities.

The six centers five planned and one already open are mostly targeted at affluent elderly residents on the north side of Colorado Springs and will expand the city inventory of assisted-living units by more than 25 percent. The construction boom began in mid-2011, when the local occupancy rate at such centers rose to 91.2 percent from a low of 73.4 percent two years earlier, according to the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing Care Industry in Annapolis, Md.

The new properties represent a pretty large increase in inventory and will put downward pressure on occupancy rates in all properties as they open, but the industry has shown the ability to recover fairly quickly, said Chris McGraw, a senior research analyst with the center

Assisted-living centers are housing complexes targeted at older and disabled adults who need help with preparing meals, keeping track of medication, bathing, dressing and other personal-care tasks, but donít need the 24-hour medical services provided in a traditional nursing home. More than 50 such centers operate in the Springs, according to some estimates, though the National Investment Center only tracks the 14 largest centers that offer more than 1,000 units, which are typically leased on a monthly basis to residents.

Two of the projects are targeted entirely at residents with Alzheimer disease, dementia or other memory impairments, and three others include memory-care units. Such facilities have secure entrances and outdoor areas so residents cannot leave the facility and become lost, and offer similar services to assisted-living centers.

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