Retirement home shortages in Marion

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MARION, Iowa (KCRG TV9) - Care providers say older citizens are not getting what they need in parts of Linn County.

A recent survey by the Iowa Business Council says more than 100-thousand workers are likely to retire in Iowa over the next five years.
And that is prompting more retirement homes to go up across the state, including in Marion.

Views Living Center is planning to build a 100-bed facility near Menards, off Highway 100.

Scenic Development has proposed building a 120-bed facility near Boyson and Alburnett roads.

Two senior apartment complexes are also going up on Blairs Ferry Road.

So why is there a heavy influx of residents at retirement homes?

Five years ago the first round of baby boomers started to turn 65 and retire. This large population is causing influx of residents at retirement homes.

And providers say this need will keep increasing for at least 15 more years.

The Views Senior Living has been providing care to seniors in Cedar Rapids for more than a decade.

Staff say they get about 15 to 20 calls per week from people asking about openings in their facility.

This need prompted the company to do its own research.

"We did market research analysis and found their were 800 skilled beds needed in the Marion area," Views Senior Living Relations Director Angie McClure said.

A shortage the City of Marion says is a reality.

The city says it is in the process of approving two new retirement homes.

The city says it expects several other companies to submit proposals to build retirement homes in the near future.

"I really think this will be a determining factor for the next 15 years is how their housing needs will be addressed. They'll be going from larger homes to condos then eventually to homes that provide care," City of Marion Assistant Director of Planning and Development David Hockett said.

Care providers say retirement homes can be an ideal option for many people because they provide easy access to socialization and medical care.

The Views Senior Living say it asked seniors and their families about what they would want in a new home.

Staff say the new facility will be a pod design, and each retiree will have access to his or her own room and bathroom.

But the biggest priority, for both the City of Marion and Views Living Center, is keeping these senior citizens close to home.

"A lot of them grew up here and want to stay her and if we don't fit their needs they'll have to go to other counties or places and no one wants to see their folks move away from them," Hockett said.

Because of the retirement home shortages, health care providers say it's always best to plan early, even if you are no where near retirement.