- The retirement center is the new pattern of settlement in
Oregon. A few years ago there were no modern living accommodations
in the state especially designed for people in the retired category.
As to July 1966 development organizations have thirteen centers
in operation and over 4,000 people are in residence.
Retirement centers are not "old folks homes "! They are modern
apartment dwellings or individual homes grouped into a community,
where senior citizens may acquire living quarters for the balance
of their lives. By choice they live in a social environment that
is compatible to their age group. In many cases financial problems
associated with future living and possible hospitalization and medical
care are minimized.
Group living for senior citizens is the fundamental philosophy
of all retirement centers, however, differences exist that make
possible two broad divisions. The groupings are the life care and the non-life care centers. The former furnishes the residents with
complete care for the balance of his life; the latter is similar but
does not guarantee complete medical or nursing care.
The majority of the centers in Oregon have been concentrated
in the western portion of the state. Eleven of the thirteen centers
are in the Willamette Valley and the other two are in southwest
A number of factors influenced the location of centers at sites
in western Oregon. Perhaps the most significant factor was the preponderance
of population in this portion of the state which provided
potential residents. Furthermore, associated with areas of high
population densities were adjuncts vital to center location which
would include medical and hospitalization care, transportation, shopping,
recreation, and cultural advantages.
Proximity to a shopping center played a part in the location and
medical aid, hospitals, nursing and convalescent care were vital
considerations in site selections. Nursing homes and infirmaries
are a part of the physical make-up to most centers, however, few
Easy access to principal arteries of transportation was a site
factor and availability of vicinal transport services was even more
significant. In all cases no center was isolated from main highways
nor lacking in public or private transportation facilities.
Use of leisure time is a serious problem for the senior citizen
and it is a responsibility of center administrators to provide stimulating
and satisfying leisure time outlets. A location with access to
recreation facilities was significant as well as space and the nature
of the space on the site for outdoor recreation possibilities.
The potential for more retirement centers in Oregon is great
particularly in the Willamette Valley. In the next 14 years, that
is by 1980, it is projected that Oregon's total population will increase
to 2,373,085 people. Of this number, 271,903 people would
be 65 years of age or older. Sixty eight percent of this age group or
approximately 186,000 people would be residing in the nine Willamette
Presently the Oregon retirement centers have about 6,732
units and approximately 4,322 residents or 2.2 percent of Oregon's
population of 65 years of age and older. If the percent of resident
occupancy remains constant there would be over 7,000 residents by
1980. It is felt that numbers will increase and the percent of residents
will escalate from 2.2 percent to about 5 percent or 11,500
individuals by 1980.
The success of retirement centers in Oregon is assured and
the need is corroborated by the fact that four new centers are scheduled
to open in the near future.
Retirement centers are an integral part of the landscape mosaic
of Oregon and make a notable contribution to the state's settlement