By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to speak on behalf of Gardant at a Ribbon Cutting in Aurora, Illinois.
Located along the Fox River, 35 miles west of Chicago, Aurora ranks as the second most populous city in the state. It is known as the “City of Lights” because it was one of the first cities in the nation to illuminate its streets with electric lights.
The Ribbon Cutting marked the opening of the temporary office for Bardwell Residences, the name of the senior living community that is part of redevelopment of the former Copley Hospital campus on south Lincoln Ave. in Aurora.
Bardwell Residences will feature senior living apartments, assisted living apartments and specialized memory care. A wide variety of floor plans will be available.
The temporary office is located at 63 S. Broadway. To obtain information, schedule a time to visit the office, or learn how to reserve one of the senior living, assisted living or memory care apartments, you can call 630-892-5790.
During the program, I talked about how honored Gardant is to be part of the team that is focused on the senior living portion of the redevelopment of the historic hospital campus and how honored we are to have been selected by Fox Valley Developers to manage the senior living community.
Our company is based in Illinois. Our office is located in the Kankakee area, about an hour south of Chicago. We operate nearly 60 senior living, assisted living and memory care communities, more than 40 of which are located throughout Illinois.
I mentioned that as I was thinking about what I was going to say at the Ribbon Cutting, four words came to mind. “Adding Life to Years”
Why those four words? Why “Adding Life to Years”?
I have had the privilege of working in senior living and health care for nearly 45 years. One of the best parts of what I do is being able to visit the communities we operate and talk with residents. To ask them questions about why they decided to move and what they think about the move they made.
One of the common responses I hear is “it was the best decision I made.” Often residents will add “as I look back, I ask myself what took me so long.”
Residents of the communities we manage are able to live in a residential environment. They are able to furnish and decorate their apartment to their taste.
A variety of community areas are available for residents to enjoy and to socialize with neighbors, family, and friends. Plenty of opportunities are available for residents to participate social, recreational, educational and wellness activities. Scheduled transportation is available.
With Bardwell Residences, an added benefit is that the community will be located in a well-established residential neighborhood close to downtown Aurora – near the Paramount Theatre, Aurora Metra Station, Aurora Public Library, Hollywood Casino and River Edge and Phillips Parks to name a few.
For residents of the senior living apartments, a variety of convenience services will be included such as the main meal each day and housekeeping and flat linen laundry every other week.
The assisted living apartments are specifically designed for older adults who need some help to maintain their independence. The focus will be on helping residents maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible.
The memory care apartments are designed for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. The focus will be on helping each resident maintain a sense of purpose and belonging in all seasons of dementia. Staff will be specially trained in how to care for and communicate with residents and how to engage residents in specialized group and individual activities.
Another one of the things I hear so often from family members before or as a loved one is moving in is that their loved one is not the type of person who likes to get out and socialize. Several weeks after the loved one has moved in, family is calling the community to verify that their loved one is okay. Why? They have been calling their loved one’s apartment for several hours, and no one answers. Their loved one has been out of their apartment, participating in an activity, getting her hair done in the Beauty Salon; eating in the dining room; talking to other residents.
As more and more research points to social interaction being one of the most important keys to healthy aging, one of the biggest benefits of moving to a senior living community are all of the opportunities that are available for social connectivity.
In a report that ran on ABC 7 a few weeks ago, a geropsychologist from Rush University Medical Center noted that social isolation is worse than smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It can lead to decreased immune response; increased cognitive decline; anxiety, depression, and increased mortality rates.
Certainly over the past year, COVID-19 has had a major impact on the ability of all of us to interact with each other. Fortunately one of the upsides mentioned in the ABC report and from what has occurred at the communities we manage is the technology that is available today that enables us to at least connect virtually. Staff helping residents use applications such as FaceTime Video, Facebook Messenger, Skype and Zoom to connect with family and friends and for telehealth.
To help add more life to years, Gardant is also engaged in an effort to further enhance the wellness programs available to residents of the communities we manage. Encouraging residents to participate in walking clubs and programs. Partnering with a Therapy company to conduct balance screenings and fall prevention programs. Helping residents on Medicare complete a Comprehensive Annual Wellness. Conducting safety checks of resident apartments and hosting monthly wellness educational clinics.
Doing more to add life to years and fulfill our mission of providing residents with the Love, Compassion and Dignity they deserve.