Article by Access Lake Chapala
Posted by Writer Evelyn on October 18, 2013
The Penthouse, Living in Community where like minds and like hearts meet. That is the opening statement on the flyer given to me by the managers of The Penthouse. It is located in Riberas del Pilar, just a block from the lake and across the street from a green field. The location is perfect for peace and quiet. The idea is for people to be able to have their own apartments but also common rooms to share with others and a common dining room where two meals a day are put out for everyone. Since people have their own kitchens, they can cook for themselves if they wish. But most people enjoy the dining experience with the other members of the community.
Below is a photo of the common dining room. It is light and airy. There are several book shelves lining the walls. The books are for everyone. Meals are cooked everyday except Sunday. If someone doesn’t show up for breakfast or dinner, then one of the managers goes to that person’s apartment to check if everything is okay. This kind of living experience gives people both privacy and support in case of emergencies. I know a woman who decided to move there after she fell and hit her head and no one knew it for a day. An experience like that can make a person not feel safe living alone anymore. So this kind of living situation is ideal. Living alone can also get awfully lonely. Someone is always around at the Penthouse for conversation or games or just watching television in one of the common rooms.
There are three full time managers. Below is a photo of Michael Brown and Donna Kinakin. They have been married for twenty five years. They have traveled to different countries but decided to settle in the lakeside area, which has everything they want. They share the responsibilities of running things at the Penthouse with Jan Barns. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of Jan. They all take turns cooking the dinners. Donna was making a delicious looking pork roast when I was there. They buy most of the fruits and veggies at the Tuesday Organic Market. The food is always fresh. Sometimes they have barbeques out on the patio.
There are many things to do during the day. It is easy to walk up to the bus stop and take the bus into town. A driver, Sergio, is available to take people anywhere they want to go. A stroll down to the lake is nice. Or how about using the weight room? Or swimming in the beautiful outdoor pool? There are many books to choose from and people to socialize with in the common rooms. Or privacy in the individual apartments.
How about scheduling a massage with Jan Barns? This costs a little extra but I am guessing it is well worth the money.
Below are two photos of common living rooms. Every room is beautifully decorated and inviting.
Below is a photo of the kitchen and dining room that two of the smaller apartments share.
Laura lives in the above apartment. She is in her nineties. She is very active. She is an artist and many of her beautiful paintings and drawings are on the walls of this space. The below paintings however were made by Efran Gonzalez .
Below is a photo of the pool. Mike said that he plans to make it solar heated. Right now it is heated only by the sun. That is solar heated in a way but not as warm as when they actually have solar panels and pipes for the water. There is a garage next door with room enough for ten cars.
Below is a photo of the outside stairs leading up to the second floor. You can see that the gardens are lovely. If you look closely towards the back in the downstairs area, you will see another small private patio for one of the apartments.
Below is a photo of the private patio on the second floor for one of the apartments. My friend is going to be moving in there in a few weeks. She decided she no longer feels comfortable living alone.
The sculptures in the photo below belong to Mike and Donna. They brought these beautiful objects back from their trip to Africa. But everywhere you look in the Penthouse there are beautiful decorations. Yet, it feels homey and comfortable.
Below is another example of the decorations. Beautiful Mexican dolls lined along one wall and a painting.
There are Four two bedroom apartments. One is available now. There are ten apartments total. Below is a photo of a smaller apartment. It is one of the least expensive at 900 dollars a month, including the cost of the meals. The price goes up from there, depending on the size of the apartment and number of people living in one.
Below is a photo of the private bathroom that is connected to the apartment above.
Mike is standing by the electric lift. We decided to take the stairs instead. There are three floors. Most of the residents use the stairs instead of the lift.
Below is a photo of the third floor penthouse. Mike and Donna live in it at the moment but things might change. They are always open to suggestions.
Below is a photo of the inside of the penthouse. What a lovely space.
Right outside the door of the penthouse is a very large patio for everyone’s use. Fantastic views from there.
Here is another photo of the patio. As you can see from these photos, there are private sitting areas and then areas for everyone and other areas that only two apartments share. I did not take photos of the residents, for the sake of their privacy.
Below is a photo of Vivian Kaskow. She has spent a lot of time volunteering at the penthouse. She gave me a ride there and back. Volunteers help keep the place going.
There is cable television in the common rooms and also high speed internet access. These services are included in the monthly price. There is a washer and a dryer that anyone can use and maid service is available. There are also local phones and long distance phones available in the common rooms. If you are interested in more information, please contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org Their website is: livingincommunity.com or call them at: Cell: 331 330 1050 or 331 363 5580 Land line US number: 505 379 331.
The Penthouse offers the best of both worlds, independent living and community living. It is a creative solution to many of life’s problems as we get older.