Published: Sep 13, 2011 9:14 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 14, 2011 3:53 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Shell Point retirement community is renovating a former Country Inn and Suites into an assisted living facility. It will have 105 apartments and according to officials, will serve the fast-growing elderly population.

"We know people are getting older and many have trouble with basic needs while in their own homes. Assisted living can help them with grooming, bathing, medical care, plus social relationships. The older people may be having problems with those things, in their own homes," said Rita Southern of Shell Point.

Workers on Tuesday began the 2-million dollar renovation project at the four-story hotel. They hope to be finished this winter, and have people move in, in February of 2012.

Merna Johannessen says it's a hard decision to give up your own home, and go into assisted living. "I know I hated the idea, all of us hate it.  I had to give up some treasures that I could not bring with me.  But once I gave them up and moved here, it was fine.  We don't need all those things at this stage of life," she told WINK. "The people here are so great, they take care of our every need. It takes away a lot of stress that goes with independent living."

The US Census Bureau says about 13% of the current population is 65 years and older.  But in 19 years, that figure is expected to approach 25%. Thus, the need for services for the elderly will grow a lot in the next 2 decades, if not longer. 

"The place will be called The Springs at Shell Point," said Southern. "We believe it will help a lot of people for many years to come."