The growing popularity of assisted living facilities is evident, as construction of several senior facilities has continued across the region.
Merrillville is no exception, with several ready to offer services to the aging baby boomer population — or preparing to open their doors to seniors.
Journey Senior Living of Merrillville is the most recent addition to the Merrillville community, opening at the end of September.
The 48-apartment memory care community on Rhode Island Street can accommodate up to 50 residents, with two units featuring two bedrooms.
“Our residents move in with us as they are beginning their dementia/Alzheimer journey,” said Noelle Peters, marketing director for the facility. “We help families with the transition of having their loved one living in a memory care community such as ours, and also provide the resident with caring assistance that will foster residents’ individual skills and interest.”
The facility works with residents to provide them with mental stimulation and socialization through activities such as music and creating in the kitchen.
Nutrition is also a top priority, with an executive chef on hand who prepares homemade meals, many with ingredients from local farmer’s markets, Peters said.
“All meals are made to order and any resident who may have dietary restrictions will be followed,” she said.
The assisted living facility also offers respite care and 24-hour adult day care.
Though Alzheimer’s is one condition that often requires assisted living, others may include physical conditions where mobility is impaired and simply when independent living isn’t feasible.
However, Rick Banas, vice president of development and positioning at Gardant Management Solutions, said every effort is made to help residents achieve independence with a number of resources available.
Gardant will operate the new facility, Belvedere Senior Housing of Merrillville, scheduled to open during the summer of 2017.
“Our focus is on providing residents with the love, compassion and dignity that they deserve, in addition to the help and personal assistance that they need,” he said. “Our emphasis is on helping each resident to achieve and maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible.”
Belvedere Senior Housing will be an assisted living community that combines residential apartment home living with the availability of personal assistance and support services, Banas said.
“What makes the $23.4 million development different is that the community is specifically designed to serve low-income and very low-income older adults, including individuals who are on or would qualify for Medicaid,” he said.
The three-story building will house 126 private apartments, and each will feature a kitchenette, bathroom with shower and grab bars, individually controlled heating and air conditioning, and an emergency alert system.
Residents will be able to furnish and decorate their apartments to their taste, and studio and one-bedroom floor plans will be available.
“Certified staff will be on-duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide residents with the personal assistance and help with medications that they need to maintain their independence,” Banas said.
Support services include meals, housekeeping and laundry services, and residents will be able to enjoy community areas such as a cafe, private dining room, multi-purpose rooms, a beauty/barber salon, convenience store, fitness room, library and theater.
Already serving Northwest Indiana residents, the Spring Mill Health Campus is equipped to cater to a wide range of seniors, from those who need rehab before or after surgery, to those who require 24-hour care and support.
“Our skilled nursing and rehabilitative services are provided in our state-of-the-art health center by specially trained staff 24 hours a day, every day,” said Goran Prentoski, Spring Mill’s executive director.
Short-term rehab services are delivered by therapists from Paragon Rehabilitation, whose employee retention rate is among the highest in the country at over 95 percent, he said.
“This ensures that each person who receives rehab at our facility experiences consistency in both their therapists and the services delivered,” Prentoski said.
In the assisted living neighborhood, residents enjoy private apartments, fine dining and activities tailored to their personal interests, he said.
“Our life enrichment team is always thinking of new and exciting ways for residents to live life to the fullest, whether it’s through creating a craft, learning a skill or exploring their community on one of our excursions,” Prentoski said.
A freestanding Legacy Neighborhood specializes in assisting memory care residents, featuring “life stations” that encourage engagement in familiar tasks such as caring for a newborn or a day at the office. An outdoor courtyard, on the other hand, provides a quiet, secure place for residents, he said.
The facility utilizes programming called “Daily Rhythms,” which is based on protocols embraces by national Alzheimer’s advocacy groups and allows healthcare workers to create a schedule for those in the facility’s care that is both comfortable and engaging.
“Those with Alzheimer’s or dementia often experience fluctuating energy levels, but our commitment to nurturing their mind, body and spirit is a constant they can always rely on,” he said.
Spring Mill also uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients in their dining rooms, often recreating family recipes or taking residents on tours of other countries through food.
“We believe that it’s important to respect and celebrate the individuality of each person we care for,” Prentoski said. “We seek out their input, ask to hear their stories and help them discover new ways to enjoy life.”