Aging in place, fostering community

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O’Reilly Development Company has added to its Missouri senior living communities with completion of The Wildwood in Joplin, The Township in Battlefield and The Castlewood in Nixa. Each of these communities provides a continuum of care, beginning with independent living through the spectrum to assisted living. Each community is licensed as a level two assisted living community. Should a resident require it, there is also a memory care neighborhood in each of the communities, which provides more structure.

“Aging in place is very important to folks right now,” said Tim Moore, regional director of operations with Arrow Senior Living Management, which manages the communities. “We like our residents to know that once their level of care changes, we are still here for them.”

Choosing to move to a senior living community can be a big decision for those approaching retirement age and seeking a simpler lifestyle. “We’re here for those folks who are just finding the day-to-day tasks to be a bit more challenging and stressful,” said Moore. “Maybe it’s as simple as you just don’t want to cook three meals a day anymore. We just want to make life a little bit easier for them.”

Each community has weekly housekeeping services and features open dining from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day with a menu of more than 50 selections and daily specials. Residents no longer have to worry about mowing a lawn or any of the other maintenance and upkeep that is required with home ownership. All communities are family and pet friendly.

Moore stressed that the driving forces behind the new communities are allowing residents to be able to age in place, to provide an active social outlet for residents and a dedication to wellness. The social component is of particular importance. “We have a lot of social events throughout the day for all levels of care so that we can ensure that we’re not only treating the body but also the mind.”

The National Institute on Aging has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. The research shows that staying social has numerous mental and physical health benefits.

Moore said that even though in-person events had to be changed to virtual events during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was important that residents at every level of care had opportunities to stay engaged on a daily basis.

Residents can access provided transportation on a first come first served basis for physicians’ appointments, treatments or errands, and there are numerous scheduled shopping trips and other excursions, including off-campus lunches a couple times a month.

The communities are all locally owned and locally managed with employees from leadership to line staff based in the communities they serve. “Our people set us apart,” said Moore. “We are very conscious about creating culture across our communities. We’re about providing solutions and helping people create a fulfilled life. We never use the word ‘facility’ because we truly create community. We don’t have patients, we have residents. We want to provide an ease of life so they can enjoy the progression of their senior years.”