Aegis Living celebrated the grand opening of a Pacific Northwest lodge-inspired assisted living community on July 20.
“We’ve recreated the same warm, welcoming feeling that you might experience when walking into a ski lodge from a long day on the mountain,” founder and CEO Dwayne Clark said in a press release.
The 100,000 square foot building features 89 apartment homes and celebrates iconic people and places from Mercer Island. A 35-foot-wide waterfall and four-story exterior fireplace provide sensory experiences for residents, while furnishing a resort-like getaway.
“We hope to break the stigma of what senior living looks and feels like,” general manager Phil Clough said. The assisted living community takes on the experience of a hotel and provides residents with amenities to meet the transitional needs of area seniors, he explained.
The community offers a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom options. Residents can choose to live with their partners and some rooms include kitchens for cooking and hosting guests.
In terms of safety, alert buttons are located in each room and through the hallways in Aegis Living. When the buttons are activated, radios are notified of a resident in need of help.
All residents wear pendants, Clough said. Each pendant contains a button if assistance is required. Additionally, the pendants detect when a person falls in order to find help as soon as a person collapses or trips.
“Often when people move into assisted living, they have experienced a lot of loss,” Clough said. He explained that residents have either just lost a spouse, lost the ability to drive or lost their house. It is a journey of loss, he said.
A separate section of the community includes a memory care unit, called Life’s Neighborhood, for people experiencing confusion, dementia and other cognitive impairments.
“We have the most incredible, caring, compassionate, loving team to then provide the care,” Clough said.
The area has 16 apartment homes for residents in this section. Those at risk of wandering are protected by various walls and doors to avoid getting lost outside of the facility.
Life’s Neighborhood creates nostalgic experiences for residents by offering ski-lift simulations and access to a real Chris Craft boat. If a resident is agitated and wants to get out, they can go on a “road trip” in a built-in Winnebago.
“Aegis Living was founded to redefine assisted living and memory care – from the tailored design of each building to the carefully curated amenities and life-enrichment activities that empower seniors to live life to the fullest,” said Kris Engskov, president of Aegis Living, in a press release. “Our new Mercer Island location reflects the time and attention we take to develop a community that connects with our neighbors and creates a place our residents want to call home.”
The lobby also takes on the feel of a town center. Pendleton’s is a dining area that ties in the PNW feel by incorporating 55 blankets on the walls. The Roanoke pub highlights Native American history and honors the landmark Mercer Island Roanoke Inn and Tavern.
The Olympic lounge is a sports-themed room dedicated to winter olympics. Beer is on tap and residents can watch games on various screens.
A movie theatre allows seniors to watch movies from their childhood. Adjacent to the theatre is an activity area focused on tactile tasks, such as art and knitting. Music is also used as a form of therapy to delay the symptoms of neurodegenerative dementia.
The first floor also contains a wellness center, which houses a nail/hair salon for women and a barber for men. Next door, a massage room is operated by a therapist trained in dementia and mental health.
Across the hall, the balance center allows residents to stay active and focus on stability. A pool at the end of the center is used for water aerobics and swimming.
The grand living room contains a social environment for residents to enjoy time with family and friends. The lobby area encourages people to connect. Clough explained that increased social interaction helps slow the rate at which cognitive decline may occur.