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Best places to retire

Douglas County, Denver earn top spots (and Wind Crest is right there!)

Created date

March 21st, 2016
Wind Crest in Highlands Ranch overlooks all of Douglas County and beyond.

Wind Crest in Highlands Ranch overlooks all of Douglas County and beyond.

Denver, Colo., and nearby Douglas County are sweeping top ten lists left and right. From scoring No. 2 on Huffington Post’s “10 best counties in America” to earning sixth place in’s 2015 survey of the “10 best cities to retire,” the area is a boon for retirees. 

Bankrate surveyed people in 172 U.S. cities and ranked them based on cost of living, weather, crime rate, health care quality, tax rates, walkability, and a measure of well-being based on surveys of seniors already in the areas.

Huffington Post measured rankings based on unemployment, median household income, median rent and home price (the higher the better), percent of families below the poverty line, and high school graduation rate. Douglas County’s highlights include highest graduation rate and lowest poverty rate of all 640 U.S. counties considered. 

Additionally, Money magazine rated the whole state of Colorado No. 2 on its 2015 list of “10 best states to retire in.” This list was also compiled by Bankrate, which ranked all 50 states based on weather, cost of living, crime, quality of health care, state and local taxes, and general well-being.

“Colorado’s mild winters let retirees take advantage of its parks, trails, and Rocky Mountains all year round,” the article states.

Higher home values a plus

Some lists consider the Denver metro area’s rising average home value, which jumped 15% in the last year, a negative. But for retirees in the area moving to a continuing care retirement community like Wind Crest in Highlands Ranch (Douglas County), that’s a good thing.

“It’s true that average home values across the Denver metro area have risen 15% in the last year.  This is perfect for people wanting to move because sellers are often getting their asking price, which will help them get into their ideal apartment home at Wind Crest,” says Personal Moving Consultant Beth Brandenburg. 

Brandenburg provides complimentary coordination of all realty and moving needs, including downsizing, home staging, packing, and selection of a real estate professional for members of Wind Crest’s priority list. 

Additionally, Brandenburg says, those who use a preferred real estate agent to sell their house can receive up to $2,000 back in moving expenses. “It really helps make a move to Wind Crest seamless,” Brandenburg says.

Ken and Karen Pinkham used Brandenburg’s services to relocate from their single family home in Highlands Ranch to Wind Crest last November. She helped them downsize and stage their home, which sold on the first day. “It shows you how prepared we were thanks to Beth’s help. [The buyers] went top dollar,” says Ken.

Active retirement attraction

An active couple, Ken and Karen participate in fitness classes like yoga and aerobics, continuing education classes, and volunteer activities, to name a few. They fit right in with the area’s active population.

About 40% of more than 1,000 Bankrate survey respondents said access to mountains, rivers, and outdoor recreation would be the most important feature of a retirement destination. What’s even more interesting is that only 20% of survey respondents age 65 and older said they would consider moving to another state for retirement.

Wellness Tech Kelly Wallace says those two trends are apparent at Wind Crest when you consider the level of activity among residents. “Colorado is an active state overall. A lot of our residents have been longtime Coloradans, so they come to us with an active lifestyle.”

She says Wind Crest holds various athletic events throughout the year, such as an annual triathlon, in addition to its regularly scheduled fitness activities like water volleyball and group fitness classes. 

The community’s state-of-the-art fitness centers, indoor aquatics center, and walking trails boost residents’ physical fitness level when they’re not out enjoying Colorado’s natural sports like hiking and skiing.

In fact, the High Line Canal and Trail run through the Wind Crest campus. Many people walk it daily. And thanks to Denver’s mild weather, it’s often accessible even in winter. 

Florida and Arizona have long claimed the top spots for largest aging population—thanks to their warm weather. But Colorado retirees don’t have to worry about shoveling snow when they move to Wind Crest. It’s included in the monthly service package.

Maintenance-free living

In fact, all home and yard maintenance is included in the monthly service package, which also includes all utilities except telephone, a flexible meal plan, use of all amenities, round-the-clock security and emergency response, property taxes, trash collection and recycling, and regularly scheduled transportation.

Arlene Macura moved to Wind Crest’s new Parry Landing neighborhood to escape the responsibilities and maintenance associated with owning a house. 

“I lived in my house for 44 years, and 26 of them as a widow. After all those years of responsibility and maintenance, I was ready to cut back,” she says. 

Having lived in southern California, Arlene had concerns about the potentially drastic financial damage to her house, pool, and deck in the event of an earthquake. Now at Wind Crest, she not only has dodged earthquakes, but she avoids all home and yard maintenance—even something as simple as a lightbulb. 

“To me, the value comes down to the fact that if I need a lightbulb changed, I can call somebody on staff,” she says. And that goes for nearly any concerns or needs in her future.