A popular type of senior housing these days is a “continuum of care community” that offers a range of housing styles, typically progressing from independent living to assisted living to memory care to skilled nursing.
It’s a huge innovation, compared to the nursing homes of the old days.
But it’s not for everyone.
In fact, the senior housing industry has recently rebranded such communities as Life Plan Communities to move away from the idea of senior housing as health care, especially when so many folks don’t even know if /when they’ll need health services.
Another model is to “age in place” in one’s single-family home, and then if/when health care is needed, hire in-home care. The problem with that arrangement is that seniors are still faced with isolation, the tasks of constant home maintenance and the price of in-home health care, which typically requires hourly minimums that can be unaffordable for many families.
But what if there could be an arrangement that offered both the true independence of independent living, but also in-home health care costs that could be shared by the residents who needed it?
If a resident needed, say, just 15 minutes of help with getting on a leg brace at the beginning of the day, that doesn’t mean that resident needs assisted living or even a full hour of care.
That same home-health care worker can spend short periods of time with a variety of other residents, assisting with important, but not lengthy tasks, all the while keeping costs down per resident and making the visits sustainable for the in-home health-care company.
At RosePointe Senior Living in Roseville that idea isn’t a “what if.”
Thanks to pilot program started in 2018 — called Optimizing Aging in Place — residents at RosePointe are striking that balance in terms of health care and many other issues, said the community’s marketing director Jana Mazie.
“People want to live into their 90s and 100s — and not be in assisted living,” Mazie said. “They want a more affordable approach to home health care.”
Though a variety of in-home care services are allowed at RosePointe, such as Home Instead and Visiting Angels, the community has partnered with Comfort Keepers (a national provider of in-home senior care and companion care) to provide four hours of care in the morning and four hours in the evening spread out across participating residents.
“They’re doing a marvelous job,” Mazie said. “Residents now have an affordable shared-cost model where home health-care services can be delivered across multiple residents seven days per week.”
Contracts for residents can be as short as 30 minutes for less than $20, Mazie said, adding that only residents who need the services need to pay for them.
“We’re putting a lot of programs in place that make independent living at RosePointe a forever-home, one-time move,” Mazie said.
Obviously, not all residents can go lifelong without special care. In those situations, the community and loved ones work on strategies for making appropriate transitions.
“We have an ongoing collaboration with neighboring senior living communities to share best practices and care-delivery choices for residents who require transitional care, advanced assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing services,” Mazie said.
Mazie said there are many other reasons to love RosePointe: First of all, the market-rate apartments feel like homes. Built in 1988 when steel, brick and concrete were more common building materials, the 146-unit, six-story high-rise community is tucked into a wooded area off Hamline Avenue east of Rosedale Center.
Each sound-proof apartment in the community, updated dramatically in 2017, features at least one half-bay window that overlooks greenspace.
RosePointe, meanwhile, has pivoted quickly to make residents as well as their loved ones comfortable during the COVID-19 lockdowns with frequent updates for family and loved ones about goings-on and safety measures, plus creatively redesigned resident-engagement activities.
During April, for example, the community’s full-time resident services director introduced all kinds of new activities residents could appreciate from the comfort of their own apartments throughout the month, including doors-open apartment music and singing; apartment door sign-creation projects; YouTube/Ted Talk videos followed by videoconferencing discussions; virtual scavenger hunts, including education on how to do videoconferencing; ice cream truck goodie deliveries in the hallways; a gosling hatching countdown; and bagpipe music outside the building.
Focused on wellness
Long before COVID was a thing, RosePointe’s Optimizing Aging in Place programming began, including “Driving Your Wellbeing” classes on topics related to life’s “intersections,” such as being mortal, loss of dreams / rebuilding dreams, grief and hope, hospice and palliative care.
Another feature included the introduction of easy-to-use GrandPad technology to improve resident social outreach and engagement.
Residents were also offered education on in-home INR lab testing to help them reduce the need for repetitive off-site clinic visits for simple bloodwork.
During non-pandemic times, community groups include the RosePointe Singers, a gardening team, a women’s writing group, a Grand Friends Program that visits grade schools, educational courses, Ted Talks and more.
“When visiting or becoming part of our community, you should feel warmth, unpretentiousness and an early sense of trust — a culture you can feel walking in the door,” Mazie said.
With more than 30 years in the industry, staff have learned, Mazie said, what it’s like to “walk in our residents’ shoes” — whether that’s a recently retired baby boomer or a member of the Greatest Generation.
“I think we have a real opportunity for independent living to spread around our progressive Minnesota community,” she said. “Let’s have residents drive what’s important to their well-being.”
ROSEPOINTE SENIOR LIVING
WHERE: 2555 Hamline Ave. N., Roseville
OPENING DATE: Feb. 14, 1988 with a floor-to-ceiling remodel in 2017
AGES WELCOME: 62 and up
NUMBER OF UNITS: Six-story high-rise with 146 units and 11 floor plans
COST RANGE FOR A SINGLE RESIDENT: $1,500 a month for a 1-bedroom (600 square feet) to $2,435 for a 2-bedroom, 2-bath (1,350 square feet), plus many other options in between.
AMENITIES (rental rate includes):
- Sound-proof apartment homes with at least one half-bay window
- Weekly housekeeping
- Utilities (including heating and AC), except electric, land-line telephone and Internet
- Digital starter cable TV package, including approximately 90 channels
- 10 chef-prepared dinners per resident per month
- Daily on-going beverage bar
- Scheduled van transportation for shopping, medical appointments, religious services and excursions
- Fitness center with scheduled exercise classes
- Extensive selection of social, cultural and educational activities
- 24-hour staffed front desk
- Emergency call system monitored 24 hours a day
- Complimentary laundry facilities on each floor
- Convenience store and bistroPrivate family dining room
- Guest rooms
- Library and community room
- Card room and billiards
- Garden plots and a walking path
OPTIONAL ON-SITE FEE-BASED SERVICES:
- Underground heated parking ($55)
- Second resident fee, if applicable ($165)
- Guest rooms
- Hair salon
- Additional dinner meals
- Lunch service and convenience store open Monday-Friday
- Additional housekeeping and laundry services
- Private-pay home health-care agency services on-site for four hours in the a.m. and four hours in the p.m., seven days a week.
PROPERTY OWNER: Curtis Squire, Inc., of Eden Prairie, a privately held company with investments in fine
art, TV broadcasting, senior living, commercial real estate, Internet publishing and retailing and electronics manufacturing; other facilities include RosePointe II in Roseville; RidgePointe and Sunset Ridge in Minnetonka; and RiverPointe in Denver, Colorado
INFO: Contact Marketing Director Jana Mazie at 651-628-8562 or see rosepointeseniorliving.com.
NOTE: Some services will be modified or temporarily suspended due to the pandemic.
Sarah Jackson is the outgoing editor of Minnesota Good Age magazine.