From putting greens to gourmet cuisine and lectures by retired university professors, luxury assisted living offers lavish perks and a resort lifestyle.
Assisted living has its origin in the senior living industry’s aim to provide a personalized, more humane setting for seniors who need some assistance with daily living but will thrive in a setting with nutritious meals, medication management and carefully structured social activities. Long gone are the sterile hospital-like nursing homes of 30 years ago. Today’s high-end assisted living communities offer “resort style living” that is hospitality oriented and designed in the vein of 4-star hotels and cruise ships rather than hospitals.
Communities that take luxury assisted living to the next level go above and beyond the overstuffed pillows and chandeliers (although they are often still fixtures). Common features at upscale communities may include:
Spacious Apartments: Square footage at luxury communities is about 20% more than standard communities Louis J. Spiegel of Diversified Investing Associates told Forbes Magazine. As the average one bedroom assisted living apartment is about 500 square feet, a luxury apartment would be 600 square feet. Two bedroom apartments at upscale communities can be more than 1200 square feet.
Environmental Sustainability: More and more consumers are making environmentally conscious purchasing decisions, and senior living is no exception. Many new upscale communities, such as Bright View South River in Edgewater, MD and Atria Tamalpais Creek in Novato, CA were constructed in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines for energy efficient, environmentally friendly communities.
High Ceilings: The high ceilings or “cathedral ceilings” which are commonplace in upscale assisted living apartments contribute to an open and airy feel. Atria Baypoint Village in Hudson, FL and Heatherwood at Kings Way in Yarmouth Port, MA are examples of assisted living communities in our network with impressive cathedral ceilings in their apartments.
Full Kitchens with High End Appliances and Marble Counter Tops: A main selling point of the upmarket assisted living communities is their kitchens. The typical assisted living apartment has a kitchenette, which is usually a mini-fridge, a microwave, and a small amount of cupboard and counter space. But the most upscale assisted living communities include full kitchens with stove tops and other standard appliance in addition to top shelf finishing. Horizon Bay Sarasota in Sarasota, FL includes granite counter tops in its kitchens, while some communities, such as Trezevant Manor in Memphis, TN provide marble finishing.
Concierge Service: According to Aaron D’Costa of Pathway Senior Living, concierge service is one of the amenities that separates luxury assisted living from its counterparts. He recently told Senior Housing News, “Looking at the services that that type of senior would want, in many ways it would be like a hotel concierge, and that becomes the greater value that’s being offered. If seniors know that they can go to this concierge in their community and arrange flights, hotels, concerts, and so on, and that they can arrange this for less than what they could on their own, they’re more likely to choose our community.”
Gourmet Dining: High-end senior communities pride themselves on high quality food that is often approved by registered dieticians, and tend to employ experienced, certified chefs who serve gourmet meals. Appealing to people’s desires for choice and variety, some of the most luxurious communities have more than two restaurants within the community, each with their own menus. Vi at Palo Alto has three separate restaurants in their community, and Atria Longmeadow Place in Burlington, MA is among the select senior communities served by an award-winning chef.
Activities, Education and Entertainment: While nearly all assisted living communities offer activities, classes and entertainment, the most luxurious communities have higher budgets for this aspect of their service, and are thus able to offer higher quality entertainment, activities on a more frequent basis. For instance, Belmont Village in Westwood, CA has an annual fashion show, and offers weekly lectures from retired UCLA professors, and Atria Kew Gardens in Kew Gardens, NY has more than 200 social and cultural events every month. High end assisted living communities, particularly those in urban areas, offer residents frequent outings. A case in point is Aljoya, a senior community in Mercer Island, WA that not only offers residents outings to art museums and other cultural events such as plays, concerts, and sporting events, but is actually an art gallery itself with original artwork by renowned artists displayed in halls and common areas.
Personal Fitness Trainers and Recreational Facilities: Luxury senior communities usually have a number of recreation rooms for seniors to use at their convenience, including computer labs, fitness rooms and cinemas with the latest technology. These communities have personal trainers and senior fitness programs supervised by physical therapists. The Bellettini, a LeisureCare community in Bellevue, WA offers residents what’s called a PrimeFit fitness program that includes exercise classes, a gym for independent use, one-on-one training, and technologies designed to not only keep residents generally fit, but to improve key capabilities such as balance. High-end assisted living communities also provide full service spa treatments, beauty salons and barbershops for the men. Furthermore, no luxury assisted living community would be complete without a heated pool and spa, which are always popular with residents.
Beautiful Grounds: Luxury senior communities are attractively designed inside and out. Many upscale senior communities are built on acreage with walking paths, putting greens, ponds, and gardens. Even urban communities where space is limited will typically have an attractive and enticing courtyard for residents to congregate, get fresh air, or enjoy a meal outdoors.
Brain Training: Evidence suggests that constantly challenging your mind and engaging in problem solving can help keep the mind sharp and memory strong during the aging process. Many assisted living communities provide enjoyable brain training to their residents using professionally designed software for use on PCs and handheld devices. For example, LeisureCare uses a system called SmartFun to train its residents, and found the system so useful that it has purchased a stake in the company. Brookdale Senior Living’s brain training program, “Cross Train Your Brain” and Emeritus Senior Living communities “Fit Brains” program are similar programs for residents.
Pet Friendly: Pet ownership has been shown to be beneficial to seniors, and high-end assisted living communities are increasingly open to allowing residents to have pets. Although communities sometimes have limitations regarding the size and number of pets, they frequently provide pet care such as dog walking, nail clipping, grooming and litter-box changes. Often these communities also provide formal, certified pet therapy in addition to allowing residents to keep keep their own pets. For example, Steve Winner, co-founder of Silverado Senior Living joked in an interview with A Place for Mom, “”We don’t just let pets in. We require them.” He said Silverado communities not only encourage residents to keep pets, but heavily incorporate animals into their programs, sometimes including exotic animals such as miniature horses, baby kangaroos, chinchillas and llamas.
Cutting Edge Therapy: By definition, assisted living communities provide personal care to their residents, but the finest communities frequently offer top notch therapy on top of standard care. In addition to the physical therapy and pet therapy mentioned above, high end communities often also provide quality occupational therapy, music therapy, Snoezelen therapy, and counseling, all from certified professionals.
Whether you’re looking for a high end assisted living community, or an affordable community that offers high quality care without the bells and whistles, our Senior Living Advisors can help you and your family identify communities to explore based on your needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us for free assistance, or join the conversation by commenting below.