Tuesday, September 30, 2014

VARIETY sums up today's assisted living choices

If your parent needs assisted living today, and he or she lives in a city or suburbs, there's one word that describes what you'll see.  Variety.  Take Bellevue, Washington, for example.  The following assisted living communities differ in size, ambiance, pricing and care.  In many US cities, you'll find similar range of offerings.

The Bellettini--Situated in the heart of the city, this posh building is home to approximately 150 to 170 residents.  High ceilings, chandeliers and huge windows add to the hotel-like ambiance. The daily schedule rivals that of a cruise ship and includes outings, travelogues, exercise classes, personal trainers, art shows and culinary demonstrations. Speaking of food, dining options include two restaurants, which are open to the public.  In The Panini, a bistro, residents can watch the chef prepare their food to order.  The Bellettini caters to people who enjoy gracious living.  They tend to be independent, but have the reassurance they can receive more care if they need it.  Apartments range in size from the compact studio to the spacious penthouse.  There's a big range of pricing, too.

The Gardens at Town Square--Gracious living is a good way to describe this community, owned by Era Living.  For more than 20 years, Era Living has partnered with the UW School of Nursing to produce active aging and wellness programs.  Residents at The Gardens at Town Square can hear up-to-the-minute research on timely topics relating to health and other subjects.  Those might range from history to horticulture, from geneaology to astronomy, all delivered by experts in the field. The UW connection also extends to the Department of Social Work.  Residents here can join support groups and receive counseling with transition issues, thanks to this program.  One favorite feature of Era communities is the quarterly art show, showcasing work of residents and local artists.  When memory issues become challenging, care is provided in a specialized memory care unit. 

Evergreen Court--Homelike.  Friendly.  Affordable.  Those words describe Evergreen Court. This community features lots of trees, and every resident has personal access to the outdoors by either a patio or a deck. A long time ago Leisure Care, a national retirement community chain, owned the building.  But now it's owned by a not-for-profit called DASH (Downtown Action to Save Housing). Independent residents at Evergreen Court meet income qualifications to live here.  Apartment rents are the lowest in the city, and they come with three meals a day, weekly housekeeping, and a wonderful activities program.  With 84 total apartments, everyone knows everyone else.  Residents are active in helping plan programming, and they volunteer as they can.  Assisted living is offered in a section of the building, and there are some Medicaid-funded apartments.

Variety is the spice of life?  In assisted living, it appears to be just that.


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