Most Angelenos are unaware that there’s a huge apartment complex for older adults right in downtown Los Angeles. In fact, it’s the largest subsidized senior housing community in the country.
Since 1980, Angelus Plaza has been home to a diverse community of about 1400 low-income older adults. The demographic has shifted over the years – there used to be a lot more Latino residents, we’re told. These days, Angelus is seeing rapid growth amongst its Korean American population – so much so that the owner of the in-house salon has recently hired a Korean-speaking stylist.
Due to our current housing shortage, there is fierce competition for affordable housing–especially for people over 65 years of age. People can spend years on a waiting list in order to get a coveted apartment at Angelus Plaza. With its central location, access to public transportation, and offerings such as subsidized meals, a library, a hair salon, a market, classes, dances and a popular annual senior talent show, older adults from around the area are eager to spend the later years of their lives here.
They all live “independently.” It’s not a nursing home. But many residents rely on professional caregivers to help them stay in their apartments. And if they’re lucky, the relationships they form with their caregivers can have multiple health benefits, fending off depression and chronic health conditions such as heart disease.
Agripina Castellanos, 98, lives at Angelus Plaza. She and her caregiver Maria Martinez have come to depend on each other.