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US: South Florida to get first gay retirement home

Amy Ashenden March 25, 2013

South Florida is to get its first gay retirement home, Secret Garden in Wilton Manors.

Tom Duffy, a retired catering business owner, has converted an assisted living facility into the Secret Garden – the first of its kind in South Florida.

“I want it to be like a family, more like a commune, I guess,” said Mr Duffy, 61, who lives on the property and has been interviewing prospective residents in the past two weeks.

The 4,000-square-foot Secret Garden will provide shared and private rooms, meals and transportation for shopping outings and doctor appointments. Mr Duffy plans to have employ a full-time assistant, and other part-timers to do housekeeping, cook and plan activities.

Rents will range from $2,500 to $3,500 (£2,300) a month. Mr Duffy says gay men would probably find traditional senior living “too impersonal.” He said: “I’m confident people will come here.”

Chris MacLellan, co-ordinator of senior services for SunServe, an LGBT social service agency in the area of Wilton Manors, said: “Most of them don’t have family they can rely on, so they must turn to their friends and neighbors.”

“Tom is taking a risk. But I think once he gets some referrals, it will just start to roll.”

Demographers have predicted that there will be 3 million gay Americans older than age 65 by 2030.

More: Americas, Florida, gay retirement, LGBT people, older LGBT people, retirement home, South Florida, US

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