LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — United Zion Retirement Community is one of the oldest continuing care communities in Lancaster County.

“I don’t know if anyone in 1905 knew what a retirement community was going to be, but clearly the mission of the church was for seniors,” said Sue Verdegem, president and CEO of United Zion Retirement Community.

The growing need of such communities reflects the changing demographics of the country.

Lititz is no exception to the trend.

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“We have a three-to-five year wait. We know that we have residents in the community who would like to live here,” Sue Verdegem said.

The faith-based community recently announced a $27 million expansion for a four story, 47-unit apartment building that would double its size.

“We started talking about this in 2019 and then something happened,” Verdegem said.

The pandemic happened, so plans were delayed. The building proposal also calls for a new fitness center and other communal spaces. 

“We are a mid-market community. We are small. We are a community where everybody knows your name,” she added.

Jane Snavely has been living in this retirement community for 14 years. She says she has no regrets.

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“It feels like family and there is always something to do. I don’t want to be hear anybody say they get bored, because they can’t possibly be,” said Jane Snavely, of Lititz.

The demand for senior housing is expected to grow as baby boomers retire.

“Lancaster County is the number one place to retire and I think that is partly because we have so many retirement communities, and services for seniors,” Verdegem said.

Construction is expected to start next year, with a ground breaking in 2025.