More senior living services coming to Anchorage as the need rises

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 11:58 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Maple Springs Assisted Living is a new project coming up in South Anchorage, helping to fill a need in the community.

“It’s a very important resource for the Anchorage area,” said Community Relations Director Heather Jacox. “Alaska’s one of the fastest growing elderly populations in the country and there aren’t enough communities like this available, especially in South Anchorage.”

The Utah-based company has locations in Wasilla and Palmer, and now Anchorage. The South Anchorage location will open in December.

Alaska actually became the No. 1 state per capita for senior growth in 2007 beating out Nevada and has remained on top for years.

Jim McCall from the senior housing office at Alaska Housing Finance Corporation said the state’s senior population growth for the last 11 years has averaged about 5.5%, with growth in Anchorage coinciding the with state’s average.

Leading the state for senior population growth in that time span is the Matanuska-Susitna Borough area at close to an 8.2% annual growth rate, according to McCall. But why Alaska?

“The answer is relatively simple, it’s a great place to live,” McCall said. “Folks came up in the pipeline era and they raised their families here and they all of a sudden said, ‘you know what? We want to stay,’ and so that’s exactly what’s happened across the state.”

McCall said COVID-19 hasn’t played a huge roll in terms of that senior population growth.

“Based on every indication I suspect that it will be very similar to the last, you know, 15 years or so,” he said. “So as far as COVID goes we really haven’t seen a lot of negative comments in terms of people fearing the state or whatever the case may be. In fact most of them see it as a sigh of relief I think in the most part, as opposed to being in a large urban community.”

In Alaska there are currently 2,829 beds for assisted living and senior living combined that are licensed by the state and Maple Springs Assisted Living facility will be adding 79 assisted living rooms and 28 memory care rooms. Those in the memory care unit will have access to helpful opportunities.

“So it’s set up with little shops and boutiques that our residents with dementia and memory issues are able to explore and help them to kind of relive fun times in their lives,” Jacox said. “So there’s a bridal boutique, there’s a post office, there’s a mechanic shop — places for people to interact and touch and engage when they’re struggling with dementia.”

And Maple Springs Assisted Living is just one of many new buildings coming up in Alaska, as others are being built in Anchorage, Wasilla, and now a new one in Juneau.

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