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Fun and affordable retirement
by Yolanda Putman
Sunday, March 31, 2013    |   
At Morning Pointe Assisted Living Residence, a weekly jewelry-making class gives residents the opportunity to make gifts for family and friends or to donate to charities such as the Forgotten Child Fund.
At Morning Pointe Assisted Living Residence, a weekly jewelry-making class gives residents the opportunity to make gifts for family and friends or to donate to charities such as the Forgotten Child Fund.
Photo by Staff File Photo.
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    Joe Clark takes a daily 15-minute walk on a treadmill in the Boynton Senior Center.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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Retirement facilities in Chattanooga

* Chattanooga Housing Authority has 535 apartments specifically for senior citizens but only 11 units are available and more than 200 people are on the waiting list.

* Rose of Sharon’s Senior Villa helps residents get government living assistance. It has vacancies. Call 423-822-7673 or go to www.sharonseniorservices.com for more information.

* Morning Pointe, private pay, has vacancies. Go to www.morningpointe.com or call 423-296-0097 or 877-776-4683.

* Alexian Brothers Senior Ministries also has vacancies. Call 423-875-6110 or go to www.alexianbrothers.net .

Joe Clark lived in Ooltewah and operated JDF Sanitation service in Chattanooga for 45 years before moving to Boynton Terrace Apartments in the late 1990s.

He called it beautiful and said it was his retirement home of choice.

More than a decade later, Clark said there is room for improvement, citing some occurrences of prostitution and drugs at the site. But it’s still a good deal, he said.

Boynton Terrace is considered low-income housing, yet he has a top-floor apartment with a view of the Tennessee River comparable to those who live in riverfront condos.

Clark is among an estimated 1,000 seniors with low to moderate incomes housed in Chattanooga’s Westside area. Of the more than 170,136 people in Chattanooga, about 14.7 percent or 25,009 are seniors age 65 and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 population estimate.

City Councilwoman and real estate agent Sally Robinson said the latest client to whom she sold a home this month retired and moved from New York to the Chattanooga area because of its outdoor activities.

“There is something for everybody in Chattanooga,” said Robinson, who owns Metro Real Estate. “We’ve got the outdoors, the active life, a wonderful art scene and cultural scene. We’re small enough to get around without getting caught in traffic, and housing in Chattanooga is a wonderful bargain.”

CNNMoney listed Chattanooga as 21st among its list of the 25 best places to retire in the country in 2009. The website lauded the city for making the most of its environment, including the Tennessee River and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The area offers camping, fishing, whitewater rafting and hang gliding. There’s also golf, hiking and scenic walking trails.

And it’s not an overly expensive place to buy a home, said Robinson.

Senior living facilities include public housing-based apartments like Boynton Terrace. There are government-assisted living facilities such as Sharon’s Senior Villa, private-pay retirement homes like Morning Pointe of Chattanooga and Alexian Brothers Senior Ministries.

Alexian Brothers is the largest senior health care provider in the Chattanooga area, said Kim Goodwin, the agency’s regional director of marketing.

The agency’s Alexian Village on Signal Mountain includes residents from 42 states and 11 communities, said Goodwin.

“People come to retire here,” she said. “They love the resort style of living in the mountains.”

People also come because they see a continuing care retirement community. Residents may age in place because Alexian Brothers has living facilities that cover various levels of care, all on Signal Mountain. It also has independent housing in Tiftonia, said Goodwin.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfree press.com or call 423-757-6431.