Clara Oberman, a Regency resident for 20 years, Kaye Hess, a Regency resident for 15 years, and Shelley Bebensee, a Regency employee for 20 years, stand

for a picture in the courtyard of the Regency Retirement Residency in Clinton. RACHAEL KEATING/CLINTON HERALD

CLINTON — A retirement residence in Clinton later this year will be celebrating 20 years in the community.

Regency Retirement Residence of Clinton, 839 13th Ave. North, is celebrating its 20th year of offering retirement housing for the Clinton community. The retirement home currently houses 33 residents in 28 homes, sitting at approximately 85 percent occupancy. Requirements for residency include being older than 55 years old and meeting certain income guidelines in order to ensure they can afford to reside at Regency.

"They pay an entrance fee sort of like when you buy your house," Regency Retirement Residence of Clinton Executive Director April McFall said. "Because we're a non-profit that gives them the right to occupy and then also a vote per home. They do pay a monthly maintenance fee that takes care of just about everything. The only thing it doesn't cover is their electricity and their telephone."

McFall said Regency, while currently at 85 percent, would like to increase its number of residents to full occupancy. She said the recent apartment developments in Clinton have led to more challenges for Regency in attracting new residents. She also believes it can be a difficult choice for potential residents to give up their homes and move into the retirement home.

"It's also a hard choice to give up your house and move into independent living," McFall said. "And that's one of the things we're trying to change our image of. A lot of people don't know we're independent living. They think we're a nursing home or assisted living. But everyone who lives here is independent on their own. They can pay for services like they would in their own home but we just don't provide it here. The only thing we do provide is a van for transportation."

McFall said community members who decide to move to independent living at Regency usually reside there for five years. McFall said some people only reside at Regency for a couple of years before moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

"The biggest problem is people wait too long," McFall said. "I hear all the time from people who are in their 90s where they're not old enough to live in a nursing. Well we're not a nursing home. They think somehow that you have to have an ailment or you have to be feeble to move out of your home and that it's somehow a step down instead of a step up. So that's hard. But I've found people who live here tend to not have to go to a nursing home or assisted living as soon. They can come here and get the socialization and they stay more active."

McFall believes independent living at Regency is a good fit for all seniors still wanting freedom without having to have the responsibilities of owning a home. She said residents at the facility can be as active and social as they want, although it is not a requirement for residents at Regency.

McFall said Regency will most likely celebrate their 20th anniversary within the next year but nothing is planned currently. She said they celebrated their 15th anniversary with a dinner and expects they will do something similar for the 20th anniversary.

"We haven't done anything for our 20th anniversary yet because it's kind of kicking off the 20th year so to speak," McFall said. "For 15 years we did a dinner and invited any previous residents that maybe might still be alive or their family, previous director, maintenance, that kind of stuff. And then invited the chamber and anybody around town that wanted to celebrate with us. We'll probably do a dinner. We just haven't planned anything quite yet."