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January 14, 2014

MULTIMEDIA: Retirement community finds a home in Stillwater

STILLWATER, Okla. — In October 2012,  Stillwater was selected to be the first certified retirement community in Oklahoma, and a major retirement community has opened in Stillwater.

According to the city of Stillwater’s website, Stillwater became the first certified retirement community because the city had many things to offer senior citizens such as quality of life, low crime rate, and public transportation. With the addition of Primrose, Stillwater anticipates an increase in seniors to the area. Valerie Silvers, the grants coordinator for the city of Stillwater, said Stillwater is a place that appeals to seniors.

“It makes sense because there are a lot of things that Stillwater has that senior people want,” Silvers said. “They like the youthfulness of the city with all the students.”

Silvers said the activities and events that take place in Stillwater attract older people that want to feel young. Along with a sense of adventure, Stillwater’s fine arts give the public many opportunites to enjoy musicals and plays, and Oklahoma State University’s athletic events offer more ways to enjoy retirement.

“It’s also a small town atmosphere with a safe environment compared to other university cities,” Silvers said.

Silvers said she was on the board that helped make Stillwater a certified retirement community.

“The legislature was in 2010,” Silvers said. “We did not receive the certification until 2012.”

Stillwater’s Primrose Retirement Community is Primrose’s second community in the state. The company came to Oklahoma in February 2012, opening in Shawnee. Although the company opened its first community in South Dakota in 1991, the company has expanded to 30 communities across 15 states. Residents began moving into Stillwater’s Primrose at the end of 2013, but a grand opening is planned for the spring.

Joe Alexander, the executive director of Primrose’s Stillwater location, is familiar with Stillwater.

“I have been here since ‘85,” Alexander said. “ I enjoyed my time at OSU. It was great.”

Alexander said he hopes to bring new people to the state to enjoy the city as much as he has.

“We hope not only to have Stillwater residents coming here, but also, people from out of state,” Alexander said.

Alexander said most residents have ties with Stillwater — either they are living in Stillwater, have lived in Stillwater, or they have family in Stillwater.

“Our goals here are to provide a safe and secure environment that has a service-oriented attitude,” Alexander said. “We want them to have a great experience.”

Part of that experience includes games and social areas. Primrose offers a pub, bistro, movie theater and spa among other amenities. Although the benefits sound appealing, Alexander said his residents are his secret marketing weapon.

“I feel like the more people know about us the better they like us,” Alexander said. “Our residents are some of our best promoters.”

Primrose’s motto is, “this is living!” And in case living is at risk, Primrose has two registered nurses on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Alexander said his staff is largely made up of Stillwater residents and recent OSU graduates.

“They tell me the most important person I would hire was going to be the cook,” Alexander said. “If you don’t have a good chef, people aren’t going to be happy.”

Primrose offers free tours for anyone interested in the community. The community is located at 823 Range Rd.

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