NORTH ANDOVER — The town’s newest residents have started moving in.
They’re taking up residence in apartments built at the foot of what used to be the slopes of the former Boston Hill Ski Area on Route 114.
They don’t have kids living with them so they won’t be burdening the local schools. And the police are probably not going to be sent there to break up wild parties, so there won’t be much strain on public safety services.
The new North Andoverites started moving into the Brightview North Andover Retirement Community on Aug. 26. Thirty have already arrived and more are on their way, according to Mel Horan, regional vice president of Brightview Senior Living.
The minimum age is 62. There are 65 apartments for independent tenants and 44 for those who require assisted living. Wellspring Village, a section designed for people with dementia challenges, has 27 units.
Michael Reed, executive director of Brightview North Andover, estimated the average age the residents is in the mid-70s. Most have gotten to the point where they no longer need to live in a large house, now that their children have grown up and moved away, he said.
“I prefer to use the term ‘right-sizing,’” Horan said – as opposed to down-sizing. The purpose of the retirement community, she said, is to make life easier for the residents and encourage them to socialize with each other.
Staying active is a theme that is stressed throughout the building. Marcia O’Hara, for example, is the director of vibrant living – not the activities director. She and other staffers teach residents how to use computers, Skype and other devices.
They also encourage residents to try wii bowling, in which participants bowl on a large computer screen rather than in a lane. The fitness room, which boasts treadmills and weights, has a sign that proclaims, “You are never too old to work out.”
Neil Harkins, 84, who said Tuesday he moved in “exactly 21 days ago,” said the emphasis on staying active agrees with him. Harkins taught school in Revere for 40 years before retiring.
He decided it was time to adjust his lifestyle and refrain from maintenance tasks such as climbing ladders, he said.
“I am exceedingly happy here,” he said, and he’s pleased to call his independent living apartment “my home.”