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Flexible financing, proximity of care attract active couple to Neighborhood 19 accent

April 26, 2024 | By

Doudnas Donald Doudna is a believer in learning from experience.

Several years ago, eight of his family members were in some version of senior living simultaneously; as a result, Donald, an educator and business owner, became well acquainted with what he did not want to do in the second half of his life.

"I learned a lot about the issues involved, and combining that with my professional experiences meant that my wife and I would be sure to make smart decisions about how to manage the retirement portion of our lives," Donald, 75, says.

"The wisdom we gained from those experiences is responsible for our decision to move to Neighborhood 19 at Brio."

Neighborhood 19, slated to open later this year, is a gathering of independent single-family homes and townhomes on the property of Brio of Johnston, WesleyLife's Community for Healthy Living in Johnston, Iowa.

1197 Brio Townhome Rendering 011124The addition is unique in its approach to thriving-in-place housing for people 55 and older; WesleyLife worked with BSB Design, a national architecture-and-design firm based in  Central Iowa, to create homes that are filled with "smart" amenities designed to help people live better lives at any age, but may be even more desirable as people grow older. The homes also include generous storage and gathering spaces, and most maintenance services are included in a reasonable monthly fee.

Proximity to services

The neighborhood is also steps away from Brio of Johnston, a 6-year-old community that has already been recognized nationally for the effectiveness of its services and care. The community provides levels of living ranging from independent and assisted living to memory care, short-term rehabilitation, and long-term nursing care, and if a Neighborhood 19 resident needs healthcare at some point, they will be able to move seamlessly into the Brio campus. 

Donald and his wife of 54 years, Janice, were drawn to those aspects of the development as well, but, as he puts it, "the financial concept is what really works, and what made it something we had to take advantage of."

Donald explains that because the couple has no need for health services at this point, the monthly service fee they'll pay the community once they move in is "quite affordable." And he says they'll also gain peace of mind in knowing they'll be steps away from Brio's award-winning services and care.

"The financial model of a refundable entrance fee and affordable monthly fee makes sense and allows flexibility; that's what has made this development so popular," he says. "I can say for a fact that it's appealing to people because we know roughly half of the  people moving in; in fact, one of them is my brother!"

A sense of community

In addition to the financial wisdom inherent in Neighborhood 19's model, Donald says he and Janice are also attracted to the sense of community they feel they'll gain from living so near members of their peer group.

"You hear people say, 'I want to stay home as I age,' and in that instance, I would ask them about their sense of isolation," Donald says. "As you age, you often become more isolated; that's a simple fact. Your friends are not as active. Perhaps you don't live near family.

"With a place like Neighborhood 19, there's a holistic approach to care and to life — a soundness of mind, body, and spirit that will not only affect how you live, but maybe even how long you'll live. It makes sense to make a decision like this — a good one in every way — before someone else has to make it for you."

"Insurance policy"

He says he and Janice are excited to make the move into their new home.

"Had this been available five years ago, we would have moved five years ago," Donald says. "I view this move as an insurance policy: the comfort of knowing I have access to services and to people who know what they're doing in terms of advocacy.

"We don't have to worry about any health or trauma issues that may occur; we can live our lives doing the things we deem worthwhile and important. That's what any of us should want, isn't it?"

Only a few townhomes remain! Learn more about Neighborhood 19 by contacting Maria at (515) 252-5380 or

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