For many couples and individuals, aging in place in their own home isn’t practical, for physical or financial reasons. They may no longer be able to handle tasks like lawn care and home maintenance. They may want access to shuttle service and meal preparation. They may be looking for more companionship and convenient amenities. Or, they may just feel it’s time to downsize.
Whatever the reason for the change, for many people the answer may lie within the gates of Norman’s new Carlstone Senior Living Community.
Created for residents age 55 and up, the complex is uniquely designed with a lengthy list of tailored features that far outstrip other available senior living apartments, said Nick Jones, operations director for Carlsbad Management Co., which owns the development.
Who We Are
Carlsbad opened its doors in January 2008 and is headquartered in Norman. In addition to managing multiple apartment complexes, the company has an active construction division, plus several storage unit facilities located around the south-central metro community. It’s family owned, and its current leaders grew up in the business; together they share 80 years of cumulative experience. They consider Carlstone Senior Living Community to be one of their premier projects.
“We like to invest in our community,” said Chad Ernst, who heads the construction side of the business. “There are a lot of national (apartment) chains out there right now. We are small and locally owned. We understand the people we lease to, and we become close with them because we live in the same community.”
Carlstone’s team utilized their more than 80 years’ experience to create a complex whose features are designed for convenience, comfort and keeping residents in control of all aspects of their lives, Jones said.
The two-story complex offers five different floor plans, with a choice of one or two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms. Square footage ranges from 711 square feet for a one-bedroom/one-bathroom floor plan up to a two-bedroom/two-bath unit at 1,057 square feet, or a more spacious two-bedroom/one-bath at 1,090 square feet.
Each unit includes a full kitchen, stackable washer and dryer, large closets, walk-in showers, individually controlled heating and air conditioning, and other amenities. Ground-floor apartments also have a porch area, stairwells are indoors, and there is elevator access to the second floor. Small pets are allowed. Handicapped accessible units also are available, and there are storm shelters and safe rooms on site. Valet trash and housekeeping options are available, and plans are underway for a vegetable garden and a pet park, said executive senior supervisor Judy Ernst.
Rents are all-inclusive, and cover all meals, utilities, transportation services, internet, cable and tech support, an on-site hair salon/barbershop, a fitness center, a game room, several community rooms (which can be used for extended family events), along with daily programs, events and outings. COVID restrictions have slowed down some public events, but they have been doing some virtual activities, she added.
The 88-unit community features both security cameras and staff in place 24/7. Located northwest of the Robinson/Porter intersection, it’s conveniently close to Norman Regional Health System’s senior care facility, the Norman Farm Market and the Cleveland County Fairgrounds.
“We know each tenant, their background, and we are able to alleviate any anxiety they may have very quickly,” Ernst said. “We consider ourselves to be ‘evolving,’ and we are constantly changing to accommodate residents’ suggestions. The pet park is just one example.”
Fine Dining on Your Schedule
One of the biggest reasons people object to community living is the regimented schedule and sub-par “cafeteria food” that’s often served, Judy Ernst said. Carlstone offers its residents restaurant-style food, prepared from scratch by an on-site chef from a multi-page menu. Breakfast is served all day; residents can eat at whatever time they prefer; and the dining team reaches out to each new resident to learn their individual food preferences and requirements.
Visitors are welcome to dine with residents at any time, for only a $5.50 fee. “We know how important food is,” Judy Ernst said. “When we tour, we offer a complimentary meal, so people who are considering renting with us can see what it’s like.”
Resident Bill Comach, who’s lived in Norman off and on since 1958, moved into his Carlstone apartment two months ago, and said that while he was initially skeptical, he’s thoroughly enjoying his new digs.
“I’m extremely happy, especially with the excellence in the kitchen,” he said. “Everything is made fresh, but one of the unique benefits is that they have no meal hours, which most places do. That is a big deal for me. I like to stay up late and I run errands in the morning, which means in most places I would have missed the lunch hour and I would never get breakfast,” he said.
Comach also praised the technical support staff, who helped him with some issues and saved him the cost of a service call.
“The technical support is incredible,” he said. “I just feel blessed to have found this place. I looked at every place around south Oklahoma City, Moore and Norman, and I can’t imagine finding an improvement on it.”
Information & Extra Help
One final touch that Carlstone provides upon request, is assistance for new tenants who need to sell their home before moving in. The company works with local Realtor Darien Quattlebaum-Moore, who is certified as a senior real estate specialist.
Carlsbad Management Services is located at 100 48th Ave NW. Information is available on the company website, CarlsbadOK.com, by emailing email@example.com or calling 701.1411.
“Moving from a house into a senior apartment is a huge life change,” Judy Ernst said. “People think they are giving up control or lowering their quality of life, but we’re making it so that they don’t.”
Added Jones, “We all think of our retirement days and we think of nursing homes,” he said. “Here we are much more like a full-service resort.”