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Aging in Place in Margaritaville

A Jimmy Buffet-branded 55-plus community in Daytona, Florida is wildly popular. The New York Times Magazine gained early access and ponders its deeper significance.
December 9, 2018, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Alan Budman

Kim Tingley, wasted away again in Margaritaville.

Ok, not really. Tingley is actually providing feature length reportage on Latitude Margaritaville, a "55 and better" community taking shape and proving popular as a new model for aging in place.

Tingley, who got rare access to facility last year while the master planned community was in early stages of construction and marketing. "It was impossible to stand on their cement foundations — which I had, in fact, done that morning — and not see a frontier settlement being carved into an expanse of subtropical wetland," writes Tingley.

"The real frontier here, though, was not the surrounding wilderness but a hitherto uncolonized stretch of time: the multiple decades that more and more Americans can expect to live in better and better health after they retire. What will these pioneers do? Who will they become? And how will that, in turn, alter the course of human history?"

According to Tingley, Latitude Margaritaville has utopian ideals, and not everyone (most people, in fact) will be able to afford its perks. The ideal stands in stark contrast to common conceptions about senior housing. According to Tingley, "our concept of senior housing is often dystopic: a quarantining of those who can no longer care for themselves and are of no “use” to society. To purchase a home in Margaritaville, on the other hand, is to aggressively reimagine the aging process as a ticket to an island paradise, which may prove to be willfully naïve or ingeniously farsighted — or both."

Full Story:
Published on Friday, December 7, 2018 in The New York Times Magazine
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