Senior Living in Sammamish
One of the important considerations for Sammamish as it works to responsibly manage growth is to make sure there is a mix of housing options to meet the needs of its citizens. That includes options for senior living.
If you spend much time talking to people who have lived here a while, at some point you will likely hear concern about being able to stay in this great community as they get older. Sammamish currently doesn’t have many options for seniors who need an assisted living setting or simply want to be close to shopping and other services.
A survey for the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle and King County showed that housing remains a top priority for older adults, the fastest growing demographic in King County. Nearly 18 percent of King County residents are age 60 or older, and this group is projected to grow to about 25 percent by 2040.
So it was great to see the recent announcement that Merrill Gardens is planning to establish a senior living community that will offer 150 senior apartment options for independent living, assisted living and memory care as part of the Sammamish Town Center project.
A Health and Human Services Needs Assessment adopted by the Sammamish City Council in 2018 discussed the benefits to both seniors and the community of “aging in place.”
“Sammamish is a community for families. A community committed to families must meet the needs of the entire family, including our elders. Keeping seniors engaged in the community provides a resource of people who can share their knowledge and skills, volunteer their time, and provide a watchful eye over our neighborhoods.”
The town center concept is one strategy for achieving viable housing options for seniors. The Sammamish Needs Assessment noted that the approach “often involves increasing the livability of a community by aligning housing, transportation, health services, cultural opportunities, and the physical environment around community needs of older adults.”
Merrill Gardens is owned by R.D. Merrill Co., a family-owned company with a history in the Pacific Northwest that dates back to the 1890s. Pillar Properties, also owned by R.D. Merrill, is partnering in a joint venture with Innovation Realty Partners to develop, manage and operate phase one of Sammamish Town Center.
In the announcement about Merrill Gardens and Pillar Properties, Matthew Samwick, operating manager of Innovation Realty Partners, said his team has heard from many Sammamish residents who would like to remain and retire in the community, but are concerned about the current lack of housing options for seniors. Some also mentioned a desire to have their parents or other elderly family members able to live closer to them.
Pillar Properties has also developed town centers with senior housing in Kirkland, Auburn, Burien, and Ballard and the University District in Seattle, and has 33 senior living communities in eight states.