The statistics are pretty clear: 90% of people say they want to age-in-place in their home. Recognizing this, Rincon del Rio has constructed our community so that everything has been considered to help you live-in-place in our wonderful setting. (Here is a list of the things we considered as we designed this multi-level mecca.)
While, like good Boy Scouts we are prepared, there are just sometimes when staying in your home isn’t in anyone’s best interest. That’s where the multi-level concept comes to the rescue.
Multi-Level Means Multiple Living Options
Rincon del Rio senior housing is a multi-level, equity product. There is no up-front fee because you own your home. As things sometimes turn out, there are occasions when a little in-home help is needed with ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living)—like someone helping you take a shower after you have broken a leg or such.
Since RDR is a Multi-Level Community (Independent Living with advanced care on-site if ever needed) we are prepared with in-home care capabilities.
When living at Rincon del Rio, you may have friends and neighbors that have moved to Assisted Living or Memory Care. What’s wonderful about a multi-level community is that it is very easy to visit your friends—they are just down the street living in a large, beautiful home.
Housing That Adapts As Your Needs Change
As things sometimes turn out, years pass and you find yourself thinking that Assisted Living might meet your needs. Because you are so familiar with the on-site facility and know the staff and routine, there is no “transfer trauma” or family upset. Rincon’s staff handles the move (under family or resident direction) and the community member remains stress-free and comfortable with the transition.
Everyone I speak with understands the benefits of living in a multi-level community that does not force an entry fee, paying for services that most likely will never be needed.
It’s wonderful to have this peace of mind, but I always encourage everyone to inquire about on-site Assisted Living and Memory Care. Potential community members seldom ask details about Assisted Living and Memory Care unless I bring it up.
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 about the advanced care available on-site in Multi-Level Communities. It’s important to consider, because we are all intelligent grown-ups that should know about and consider all possibilities.
Multi-Level Option: Assisted Living Housing
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 that 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.
The layout of the homes should take advantage of the of location and available land area. It’s important 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. Rincon is in a rural setting, and we’ve designed our community to work with the landscape, not against it.
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.
Assisted Living It Up
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 Assisted Living 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 institutional feel, perhaps some reconsideration is in order.
Assisted Living: What to Look Out For
Here are just a few things to look for when evaluating any Assisted Living Facility—including the one at Rincon del Rio:
- Don’t just rely on what the staff tells you. Talking to residents and their families provides you with the inside scoop on a number of issues, including how promptly staff handles maintenance issues, how often new activities are scheduled, how well residents get along and how often staff turns over.
- Make sure background checks are completed prior to hiring staff.
- Visit a bit with the staff to evaluate their ability to work with older adults in the assisted living setting.
- Look to ensure the community has its most recent survey results posted or displayed for families to review.
- Don’t be afraid to ask if staff are trained and retrained and regular intervals.
Multi-Level Option: Memory Care Housing
Memory Care at Rincon del Rio is also part of the Multi-Level Community equation. We have a unique concept that makes life easier for Memory Care residents, their family, and The Staff. Memory Care accommodations are private one-bedroom, full bath with features to allow freedom of movement and increased independence.
The memory care ‘pods’ are joined with an enclosed walking track bordering one wall with windows to the landscaped yards and the opposing wall with faux painted scenes and openings to individual housing and programming. Access is secured, but residents feel unrestricted in their own reproduction of a small town.
The walking track is centrally monitored and will have access to an ersatz laundromat, toy store, grocery/sundry, and park with benches. These units have a private, outside courtyard and each home has common areas and program amenities.
Many memory care buildings being built today have just one open room. Rincon del Rio envisions more variety of physical spaces and engagement areas that are still safe and secure. The memory care units will look more like assisted living units of the past, but with more ability to engage nature in a safe, protected environment.
Memory Care Dining Accommodations
One very important component people sometimes overlook when thinking about Memory Care Facilities is nutrition. Dietary changes are often an unexpected part of the dementia process, including:
- Eating less
- Inability to navigate silverware
- A dining environment too loud and/or distracting—even upsetting
These problems have good solutions:
Provide easy access to healthy ‘finger foods’. These user-friendly foods don’t require forks or other utensils, should be selected with healthy nutrition in mind, and can be eaten on the go. For residents who can no longer use tableware, or who tend to walk and wander throughout the day, finger foods are a great way to maintain calorie and vitamin intake.
Finger foods are a dignified option that’s fun. Who hasn’t enjoyed eating finger foods at a party? Examples that work well with memory care residents are chunks of fruit, carrot sticks, boiled eggs, and meat sticks.
No matter the case, keeping healthy nutrition for those with dementia is especially important. Proper nutrition can assist with healing, potential skin issues, and other chronic conditions.
Choose Multi-Level Senior Housing for a Flexible Future
Multi-Levels that are prepared to encourage independent living with a safety net (if ever needed) are a solution that includes living-in-place in your home unless you decide something better suits your needs.
The point is this: plan ahead so you are not 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. If needs change, a sophisticated, discrete, state-of-the art facility on-site (where you have visited friends and know the staff) is a great answer should there be a need for Assisted Living or Memory Care in the future.