A recent interview on a retirement-industry website, Senior Housing News, resonated with me. The interviewee was Vassar Byrd, CEO of Rose Villa, a LifePlan (CCRC) retirement community in Oregon. It seems to me that many of the objectives Byrd has for her community are exactly the ones I have for Kendal, and she makes some really interesting observations about them.

You can read the article, with an abbreviated transcript of the interview, here. A recording of the interview is here.

In listening to the interview (which is just over half an hour), I noticed that many of the comments that I found interesting were edited out of the abbreviated transcript, so I have provided a transcript of my own, which you can download here. In my transcript, I have included everything Byrd said (lightly edited for readability), but not the questions asked by the Senior Housing News interviewer, Austin Montgomery.

In the first half of the interview, Byrd emphasizes sustainability, a key focus of Rose Villa. The most significant project the community has undertaken was the construction of a “neighborhood” of 12 “net zero” homes, with solar panels that generate as much electricity as the homes consume. These have been so popular (despite their slightly higher entrance cost) that Rose Villa is currently constructing a second net-zero neighborhood. Byrd talks about many other sustainability initiatives as well.

Later in the interview, Byrd discusses some of the ways Rose Villa got through Covid without losing the sense of community. She emphasizes the need for residents not to feel isolated and shut in. The Rose Villa campus features rows of cottages facing each other across a green space, similar to Kendal’s layout, an arrangement that fosters community.

Toward the end of the interview, Byrd discusses the emphasis at Rose Villa on “small-home living”. She sees efficient use of relatively small spaces as an important part of sustainability, and it also helps with affordability (which will be increasingly important to the next generation of retirees).

Byrd, who has been CEO of Rose Villa for 15 years, has many great ideas. I would suggest downloading the full transcript if you want to make sure you catch all of Byrd’s insights.

I’m grateful to Harry Hammond for drawing my attention to Rose Villa and this article, and to Michelle Goodwin for reminding me about it.