Every day 10,000 people in the United States reach their 65th birthday. The trend will continue until 2029. This expanding demographic includes many active, talented and successful people who are embarking on a new age of what was once called retirement.

Joseph Di Santo, President and CEO of Panorama, must have had his eyes on his crystal ball, because under his leadership, life at Panorama continues to reflect the changing and expanding needs of this growing population. The park-like campus encompasses 140 acres. “We can’t get bigger. We keep making it better,” says Di Santo, who is wrapping up 20 years of dedicated service at Panorama. For a bit of early history on Panorama and the pioneering players, read this article.

Arriving at Panorama

Joseph Di Santo has been integral to creating the active retirement community at Panorama.

Di Santo’s first taste of serving the public happened as a 15-year-old, working at a gas station in his hometown of Cleveland. He parlayed his impeccable work ethic to securing a job down the road at a new hotel. Di Santo was initially hired as a bellboy and also washed stacks of dishes. His education continued at the School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration at Oklahoma State University. After graduation he continued in the industry working for hotel chains and various retirement communities.

The opportunity at Panorama offered him the possibility to step out of any previous “cookie cutter” experiences and actualize his vision of melding the service oriented hotel and hospitality business with life in a retirement community. At the helm of Panorama, a not-for-profit organization, actions are geared to pleasing the residents rather than the stockholders. Di Santo noted that Panorama is populated with highly educated people who have enjoyed successful careers and active lives. They are long-range thinkers and planners who see value in settling into a place that offers a vibrant lifestyle with long-term security and the availability of high quality care. It allows people to “age in place.”

Renovation at Panorama

For many years, the average age of someone moving into Panorama was 77 years. Now the age is more often in the range of 66-73 years. “It’s what’s happening,” said Di Santo. New facilities and activities reflect a community that is active both mentally and physically. The newly renovated restaurant, Seventeen51, has an espresso bar and places to play games or visit. The 206-seat state-of-the-art auditorium hosts educational opportunities, concerts, theatrical performances and other kinds of entertainment.

panorama lacey wa
Panorama’s park-like campus spans 140 acres.

The next phase of improvements include two banquet rooms, an art gallery and a movie theater. There will be more choices to do something on site – a technology center to make music or play virtual sports and a rec center with table tennis and billiards. Panorama utilized a task force of residents to gather suggestions. Even now there are over 80 resident activity and interest groups such as hiking, biking, belly dancing, yoga, Pilates, ukulele, and woodworking.

Panorama’s campus consists of 845 houses and apartments where 1,200 people reside. Units come in a variety of sizes, styles and locations, including properties along Chambers Lake. Generally, people move in while they are fully independent, they enjoy the benefits of having others handle the maintenance of their house both inside and out.

As time passes, residents may move to smaller homes or may need to move into one of the 42 assisted living units. The Panorama Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center holds a 5-star rating from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the highest level of accreditation from CARF-CCAC, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

Moving On from Panorama

joseph di santo panorama
Joseph Di Santo plans to retire as President and CEO of Panorama in August.

Di Santo will be stepping away from Panorama on August 1, 2016. I’ll not use the word retiring, as he will continue his work in this field as a consultant. He’ll be employing his favorite and best advice: Don’t ever look back and say, “I wish I would have…”

As Baby Boomers continue to redefine the meaning of retirement, it’s safe to say that Panorama residents will likely spend a third of their lives in this ‘age.’ It makes sense to plan ahead for this exciting season of life. Making decisions around your finances, advanced health care options, housing and convenience are just a few of the many considerations.

Later this year, I’ll be celebrating my 60th birthday. It sure seems younger than it did when I was a kid. I’ve made considerable progress on my long-range planning. Nevertheless, it would be great to have a look into Joseph Di Santo’s crystal ball.

You can get more information about Panorama at the website or schedule a visit by calling 360-456-0111.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email