From time to time I get e-mails from kind people who have spent time on the Rincon del Rio website (Rincondelrio.com). Mostly they ask about price which is almost impossible to discuss over e-mail.  There are so many variables like type and size of home, if a potential resident has long-term care insurance (lowers the cost), if they are moving alone or with a partner, etc., etc.

What I am seldom asked about is what the Assisted Living Units are like.  I think that’s because no one wants to think that someday they might end up living there.  True, a move to Assisted Living at Rincon del Rio would not happen frequently because most needs can be met with the proper support in your home.  But today I want to share our philosophy on Assisted Living just because we are all intelligent grown-ups that should know about and consider all possibilities:

The Assisted Living Units are designed to foster continued independence of residents with varying acuity levels.  All accommodations are private one-bed (and some two-bedroom).

We realize people go to Assisted Living on a need basis; but that doesn’t mean lives should change so much they residents feel they are one step from a nursing home. They should have a vibrant, lively, active environment more akin to independent living.  There should be easy access to amenities that independent living provides such as a spa and exercise equipment. Offering Spa Services is good business and is very beneficial for residents: http://utopiaspanc.com/6-reasons-a-senior-community-needs-tlc/

The layout of the homes should take advantage of the rural location and available land area which makes it possible to position buildings “just right”.  For example, residents should be able to enjoy the morning light in the dining room then sit on a deck on the other side of the building with a different radiance in the afternoon.

The importance of design with windows on different sides allows for common space that flows. There should be vantage points from one space to another allowing for a variety of interactions to occur while maintaining the privacy of adequate bedroom suites and contemplation areas.

Because we have space for lots of landscaping, assisted living residents are able to observe a real change of seasons—both in the views and food.  In the spring there is the smell and joy of fields being lightly tilled and planted. As summer comes and goes, different fruits and vegetables also come and go—spring peas turn into summer corn; spinach bolts in the heat and we turn to chard and bell peppers.  Fall brings the rustle of spent corn stalks and the colors of winter squash. Winter brings a short rest for the plants and farm before the cruciferous (broccoli, cauliflower) plants bring forth their abundance.

And, of course, there are early evening rides driven by staff (in carts) so AL residents can see the waterfowl on the pond and the community farm as the seasons turn.  

Before anyone chooses a move to a multi-level community that has advanced care if it should be needed, they should visit the Assisted Living component—preferably at night.  If there is a medical or institution feel, perhaps some reconsideration is in order.

Never be afraid to face an unknown future.  Put all the pieces of the puzzle together before you need them and the picture will be clear and comforting.