Getting old can really suck if you’re not in the greatest shape. Aching, stiff joints. Decreased mobility. And moving from one’s beloved, long-time home into a retirement community or assisted living facility isn’t a pleasant thought either. For some, this transition is especially traumatic. My mom’s experience was no different: It’s an understatement to say that she wasn’t too keen on moving to a retirement community.
“I don’t want to live around a bunch of old people,” she repeatedly said. At the time, she was 80 years old, but I knew what she meant. Mom is very young at heart. After months of persuasion, though, she finally acquiesced, and we found a fabulous community for her. Now she wishes that she would have moved there sooner. On the day she moved in, she met the love of her life, and these days she reassures me often with, “It’s never too late to find a man.”
Uh, thanks, but I’m fine. Really.
Granted, people normally don’t transition to a senior community and find their true love; my mother’s experience is the exception. But it serves to illustrate that life is full of surprises and one should approach this huge milestone with an open mind.
Back in 2006, when I was searching for a retirement community suitable for my mother’s needs, First & Main, 5812 Village Drive SW, Wyoming, Mich.–the upscale residential component of Metro Health Village–was still being developed. Gary Granger, president and CEO of Granger Group, had been planning the community since 2003 and this past September 23, the Wyoming senior community welcomed its first resident.
“Care is a very important piece of every assisted living community because that is the foundation of what makes this so necessary,” said Granger in a press release. “We try to do that maybe in a little bit different way. … Even though the average age is in the mid-80s, people still want to feel valued and feel like they are tied into the community. The wellness component of our program is probably going to be the biggest area of emphasis for us, because the two most important things for wellness and health are diet and exercise.”
First & Main is a 102-unit senior living community with a 170-resident capacity. It is designed with a marketplace atmosphere that is evocative of a town center. The first two floors provide assisted-living options and the third floor is for memory care.
The 180-acre healthcare village is not only home to the first suburban hospital in the region, it’s an entire community of support services, retail shops, a grocery store, restaurants and more with Metro Health Hospital at its core. There are also an in-house chapel, theater, salon, bistro and patio, fitness center, and a courtyard with a putting green and raised gardens.
I had noticed components of Metro Health Village slowly appearing over the years—doctors’ offices, the Pain Clinic, Metro Health Hospital, and now the most recent addition, the residential community. There’s also Family Fare grocery store, which I thought had been an odd placement, but now it all makes sense.
Every building in Metro Health Village is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, focusing on energy conservation, recycling and storm water management. The village also integrates the natural environment to provide a healthy, calm, healing setting to serve patients, families and neighbors nearby.
First & Main boasts some newfangled technology that makes life easier for its residents. Instead of door keys, residents use digitally encoded, radio-frequency wristbands to unlock their suites. Also featured is interactive engagement software called ‘It’s Never Too Late,’ which can be used for a variety of activities such as trivia games, vintage radio shows, and using Street View to tour a resident’s hometown.
“The wellness program, hospitality and community engagement are part of the goal to support residents’ lifestyles,” according to Granger. “Several of the programs and services offered in the new development will incorporate third-party providers, such as hair stylists in the salon, bringing in health experts for diet and exercise training classes, and yoga and fitness instructors.”
Other amenities include 24-hour staffing, transportation to physician appointments, housekeeping, activities and wellness, chef-prepared meals, apartment and suite maintenance, assistance with digital communication and reminders and assistance to dinner.
Some features may take getting used to, especially for people who are used to being self-sufficient. For example, ‘Point of Care Solution,’ a handheld mobile device, provides real-time documentation for staff so that more time can be spent with residents; ‘Quiet Care’ determines residents’ nighttime behavior patterns and alerts staff when that pattern changes; ‘Real Time Location Service Pendants’ alert staff to a resident’s location if assistance is needed; LG CNS Electronic Health Records and Medication Management Systems provide a detailed electronic record for each resident; and special spectrum lighting helps reset the natural Circadian rhythms for memory care.
Metro Health Village is a groundbreaking concept and the first of its kind in the nation. Granger has plans to build similar villages in other areas of Michigan as well as in Ohio. We can thank the Baby Boomer generation for this trend as more and more cohorts from that population transition to retirement communities.
For more information, call 616.622.2420 or visit the website.
Images courtesy of Granger Group