Music Plays a Leading Role in New Health Products for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

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by Andy Hermann

“To be able to express a song, you’re literally capitalizing on the whole brain,” says Andy Tubman of Musical Health Technologies.

On a recent Thursday at OPICA, an adult daycare center in West Los Angeles, a music therapist named Andy Tubman leads a group of 10 seniors through a sing-along of “America the Beautiful.” As the music starts, he points to his ear. “Listen for the words,” he coaches.

The seniors — all experiencing “some degree of cognitive decline,” as Tubman puts it — start hesitantly at first. But with the therapist’s encouragement, most are soon belting out the familiar tune. “Oh my goodness, you’re singers!” Tubman effuses, as aging vocal cords strain to reach the high notes of “above the fruited plain.”

They’re also helped by a unique feature on the track they’re singing along to: a soothing male voice that speaks each lyric before it’s sung. This comes especially in handy on the song’s next verse, the seldom-heard, “O beautiful for patriot dream, that sees beyond the years.” But for people with advanced Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, remembering the first verse of “America the Beautiful” can be a challenge, too — hence the spoken-word prompts built into the therapeutic music program called SingFit, developed by Tubman’s company, Musical Health Technologies.

Founded in 2012 by Tubman and his sister, Rachel Francine, Musical Health Technologies is one of several companies developing products based on a growing body of scientific evidence that music can be a powerful tool in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia. “To be able to express a song, you’re literally capitalizing on the whole brain,” says Tubman, a licensed music therapist and the main designer of his company’s suite of singing programs for eldercare facilities, which is called SingFit Prime. “Language centers, timing centers, motor centers, planning centers — you get this whole brain exercise.”

SingFit Prime, which Musical Health Technologies launched in 2014, focuses on using music as an interactive tool, but even passive music listening stimulates the brain in ways that can be beneficial to Alzheimer’s patients. A 2018 study at University of Utah Health used real-time MRI scans of patients’ brain activity to demonstrate that familiar music lit up areas of the brain, like the supplemental motor area, that remain active in patients with advanced Alzheimer’s, even as activity in speech and memory pathways declines as the disease progresses.

“This might be a sort of window where you can reach patients with Alzheimer’s disease, because it’s a part of the brain that still tends to be functioning until very late in their whole disorder,” says Dr. Jeff Anderson, one of the co-authors of the study.

Anderson notes that part of the inspiration for the study was the 2014 documentary Alive Inside, which showed patients with extremely advanced Alzheimer’s appearing to become animated and lucid in response to familiar music. As powerful as that film was, its depiction of Alzheimer’s patients interacting with music was anecdotal. Anderson’s colleagues, and the philanthropist who funded their study, thought that “maybe there’s some way to put a little more science behind it.”

In the Netherlands, another set of Alzheimer’s-related products began not as a scientific experiment, but as an art project. In 2015, Dutch artists and designers Roos Meerman and Tom Kortbeek created the Tactile Orchestra, a large wall installation covered in soft fur that responds to different kinds of touch with a range of sounds and musical tones. Soon after they debuted the project, they were contacted by several Dutch health organizations. “This multisensoric experience that your art piece provides will be very useful maybe for our healthcare process, for people with dementia,” Kortbeek recalls them saying.

Last year, Meerman and Kortbeek launched Kozie, a company that takes the tactile, multisensory experience of the Tactile Orchestra and applies it to therapeutic music products. Their first product, the KozieWe, is a modified version of the Tactile Orchestra, designed for group therapy sessions in which the goal is to get Alzheimer’s patients connecting and interacting with one another. They also introduced the KozieMe, a pillow with built-in speakers that can play familiar music or comforting messages for the patient, activated with a simple touch or a squeeze. Last month, both products made their U.S. debut at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival; Kortbeek and Meerman say the response was overwhelmingly positive and they’ve already begun plans for introducing Kozie products to the U.S. market.

“The whole goal is to make healthcare really personal,” says Meerman, who watched her own grandmother struggle with dementia. “Music is really a way to connect with a person that has dementia.”

At Tubman’s SingFit Prime session at OPICA, you can see those connections happening. Both during and between songs, Tubman gently encourages the seniors to participate not only by singing, but by clapping, tapping their feet, and finishing his sentences. After “American the Beautiful,” he introduces the next song with a few clues: It’s a city to the north, with a famous bridge. “‘I Left My Heart in’ …” he says, voice trailing off.

“San Francisco!” several participants call out.

All of the session’s songs are centered around the theme of geography: Other selections include “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “Tennessee Waltz” and “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.” “The theme keeps people on task better,” Tubman explains. Other SingFit Prime curricula are centered around such themes as pets, holidays and the outdoors.

A SingFit app on Tubman’s iPad, played through external speakers, provides the soundtrack. Within the app, Tubman can control the volume of both the guide singer and the “lyric coach,” that speaking voice that telegraphs the line of each song. The guide singer is not Tony Bennett, but a convincing facsimile; a Frank Sinatra impersonator on “Fly Me to the Moon” and “New York, New York” sounds even more like the real deal. Tubman says his company is “snobby” about their singers and arrangements, which are all original and paced so as to provide space for the lyric coach’s prompts.

“We really try to filter through so that the music is authentic,” he explains. Kate Richards Geller, another music therapist who works with Tubman on SingFit, says they choose repertoire based on what she calls seniors’ “sticky years” — that formative period roughly between ages 13 and 23, “the years they were listening to [that] music and all those songs went in and stayed. That’s what we’re providing them is this opportunity to reenter that world.”

In addition to the app, SingFit Prime provides eldercare centers with training for facilitators, props (at OPICA, brightly colored handkerchiefs prove especially popular) and detailed workbooks for each music session, which the facilitator can follow step-by-step to introduce each song, add trivia and commentary to encourage discussion and participation, and adjust the difficulty level depending on the group’s response. The goal, Tubman explains, is to provide a “turnkey” product so that “people who are not music therapists can utilize singing in a really powerful, robust way.” He says over 430 senior communities around the U.S. currently use SingFit Prime, including assisted living, memory care facilities, and adult daycare centers like OPICA.

By the time the group at OPICA finishes their 45-minute singing session, nearly all are fully engaged to a degree that’s rare among patients with advanced Alzheimer’s or dementia. During the final song, “New York, New York,” one man begins to weep; most join Tubman in forming a seated but enthusiastic kick line. As the group disperses, another man laments that the session is ending before they got to his favorite city, then bursts into an impromptu rendition of another geographic Sinatra classic, “Chicago.”

Much clinical work is still to be done before scientists and music therapists fully understand music’s effect on Alzheimer’s patients, or how best to effectively employ music as a therapeutic tool within the Alzheimer’s community. “It’s not any kind of cure,” Anderson cautions. “There’s nothing that changes the course of the disease.” But studies like the one Anderson co-authored, and the early successes of products like Kozie and SingFit, suggest that music’s potential to improve the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s — and, possibly, its power to at least mitigate the long-term effects of the disease — has yet to be fully realized.

“Singing takes place in the whole brain. There are many redundant pathways,” says SingFit’s Francine. “You start to sing and then brain plasticity takes over… It’s really mind-boggling what they’re finding out about the brain and its ability to heal itself.”

Retirement communities adding on-site clinics to improve seniors’ health

By Kevin Stankiewicz
The Columbus Dispatch
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Tom Elliott won’t need to drive to Gahanna to see his doctor anymore. Instead, he’ll walk about 220 yards from the main lobby at Friendship Village of Dublin.

The reason? Well, because now he can.

As of last week, the 90-year-old and all the other residents at the senior-living community have a full-fledged doctor’s office operating five days a week there.

“It’s a great improvement,” said 88-year-old Jack Pettit, who used to drive almost 20 minutes to see his physician in Dublin. “It’ll be just like going to the doctor, but just down the hall.”

Transportation barriers can keep seniors from getting the health care they need, and not being able to access primary care, in particular, can lead to increased reliance on high-cost hospital emergency departments.

More clinics are being opened in senior-living communities nationwide through partnerships like the one between Friendship Village and Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC), experts say.

“The idea of having primary care embedded where people live makes a whole lot of sense for older adults,” said Dr. Julie Bynum, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan.

She said it can result in fewer hospitalizations as well as fewer emergency department and specialty physician visits. It also can lower the overall number of doctors that seniors see.

“If you think about the way we used to do medical care when we were in small towns, there used to be a community doctor who was pretty much embedded in the community,” Bynum said.

It also allows doctors to automatically understand where and how their patients live, she said.

For example, if a senior-living community resident gets sick in the evening and calls for an outside physician, that doctor might not know what kind of care is available at the residence, such as whether a nurse is onsite 24/7, Bynum said.

But if the doctor has an office at the facility and knows there’s a nurse available, “you don’t have to send them to the emergency room,” she said.

An enhanced patient-doctor relationship also can lead to better care around memory-loss issues, such as early signs of dementia, or possibly an underlying condition such as a urinary-tract infection, said Dr. Brent Forester, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who sees patients at assisted-living communities.

COPC, a health-care provider with about 75 practices in central Ohio, will have four doctors who work out of the Friendship Village of Dublin office.

Each will do one-week rotations seeing patients for regular appointments and acute problems. The doctors also will spend part of the day providing care at Friendship Village’s nursing home, said Executive Director Rita Doherty.

Residents don’t have to use COPC physicians as their primary-care doctor, but switching was a “no brainer” for Elliott.

Before the partnership with COPC, there was a physician at Friendship Village, but with less regularity because the doctor also provided care at other facilities.

The way primary care is delivered at senior-living communities varies greatly, but facilities are recognizing that closer relationships with doctors lead to better care, Forester said.

Bexley Primary Care, which is part of the OhioHealth network, for example, rents space from Wexner Heritage Village. But in addition to serving Wexner residents, it’s also open to members of the broader community, which make up a majority of its patients, said Dr. Jaynine Vado, a doctor at that location who is part of the OhioHealth Physician Group.

Doherty said it’s possible COPC’s primary-care practice at Friendship Village will be opened to community members down the road. But for now, the focus is on making sure residents’ needs are met first.

“I think it’s a game changer,” she said. “And I think we’re going to see this pop up all over the place.”


Woodmont Focuses on Senior Housing, Taps Nichols to Launch New Division

The residential and commercial developer tapped Nichols to help it expand development of independent living, assisted living, memory care, and active adult communities.
By Steve Lubetkin | March 08, 2019 at 04:00 AM

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FAIRFIELD, NJ—Woodmont Properties, focusing on rising opportunity in the senior housing sector, has formed a new senior housing division and is naming veteran senior housing executive Stephen Nichols to lead the division.
Nichols, whose experience includes executive positions with Brightview and Atria Senior Living, will oversee strategy for the development and operations of Woodmont’s senior communities, and will focus on walkable and transit-oriented markets that are well suited for the development of independent living, assisted living, memory care and active adult properties.

“As we continue to evolve and grow our portfolio, we believe there is great opportunity to meet the immense demand for high-quality senior housing options across New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania,” says Eric Witmondt, chief executive officer of Woodmont Properties. “We’re excited to take the experience we’ve gained through the creation of luxury apartment communities in some of the region’s best transit towns and downtown neighborhoods and applying it to the development of world-class senior housing communities.”
“Woodmont has the experience and resources to build several types of senior housing products, and I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead this exciting effort,” says Nichols. “We are already targeting multiple towns that could benefit from senior housing development, and I’ll be focused on executing on Woodmont’s vision for the senior housing sector with the same level of quality that has become the Woodmont standard.”

Before joining Woodmont, Nichols was an executive director with Brightview Senior Living, where he focused on the construction, lease up and operations of new senior housing communities across the New Jersey and New York markets. He was also a regional vice president with Atria Senior Living, where he was responsible for the development of 18 communities from The Bronx, New York to Waterbury, Connecticut.

Senior Living: Families facing early Alzheimer’s disease are not alone

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By By David W. Hart, Ph.D. | |
PUBLISHED: March 9, 2019 at 6:27 am | UPDATED: March 9, 2019 at 6:27 am

One of the questions that I receive most frequently goes something like this: why are there so many more people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias today compared to two or three generations ago? The simple answer is that more of us are living longer today than ever before and age is the number one risk factor for developing dementia. In fact, about 40 percent of individuals over the age of 80 have some form of cognitive impairment and if you haven’t heard, those living past 85 is one of the fastest growing populations in the United States.

There’s also a secondary reason for an increase in diagnosis of dementia. The assessment tools available to diagnose a broad spectrum of cognitive impairment are more accurate now than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Because AD is the most feared disease among adults over the age of 55, individuals who experience memory challenges may be more likely to check in with a health care professional to determine the cause and hopefully rule out a progressive neurodegenerative disorder like AD.

This, along with an increase in public awareness of strategies to promote prevention of neurodegenerative disorders, the number of individuals diagnosed in the early stages of AD and other dementias has increased significantly.

Receiving a diagnosis of AD or another dementia can be debilitating for both patient and family. Fear of the unknown and what will happen next is a common source of stress. Additionally, families are often uninformed about the causes and types of dementia, how they progress and what to expect at each stage, how to plan for long term care, and where to find support in the community. Taken together, this lack of information and support may exact an excessive emotional toll on all involved. Gratefully, I may have some solutions for you.

Southern Californians living with early memory loss have access to community-based programs designed to instill hope, build community, and provide access to expert information toward living one’s best life.

Memory Club
This program, sponsored by Alzheimer’s Los Angeles, Beach Cities Health District, and Always Best Care South Bay, is made up of a select group of peers who are experiencing early memory loss and their families. The group meets for six to eight consecutive weeks and offers participants the skills and support needed to tackle the daily challenges related to cognitive impairment and memory loss. Each week includes an interactive educational presentation on a relevant topic including:

  • What to expect as the disease progresses
  • Treatment options and clinical trials
  • Diet and exercise programming
  • Cultivating happiness and purpose
  • Introduction to community resources
  • Strategies for strengthening working and short term memory
  • How to effectively manage stress and adapt to adversity
  • The presentations are immediately followed by two parallel support groups: one for folks with memory challenges and other for family care partners. The support group format provides each collaborative the opportunity to share their stories, problem solve, and gain emotional support in a safe environment with others who are facing similar challenges. Nearly 98% of past participants agree or strongly agree that what was learned in Memory Club improved their lives.

    Applications to participate in the upcoming six-week session tentatively scheduled for March 28 through May 4 are now being accepted. The program is free. For more information, email or call (310) 792-8666 and ask for Dr. Hart.

    Early Memory Loss Forum
    Hosted by Alzheimer’s Los Angeles, the conference is a day-long program providing support, education and resources for caregivers, families, and individuals facing early memory loss. The event is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 6 at the Torrance Memorial Hoffman Health Conference Center, 3315 Medical Center Drive. Admission is $20 and limited scholarships are available. Register at

    The take away message: you are not alone. Our community has programs and services that can help you navigate the challenges of early memory loss. In reaching out for support, you likely have nothing to lose and almost everything to gain: information, support and community.

    Lastly, I am facilitating an individual workshop: Adapting to Adversity: Building Resilience as a Foundation for Aging Well from 5:30 – 7 p.m., March 19 at the Redondo Beach Main Library, 303 N. Pacific Coast Highway. We will discuss the science and healing properties of resilience, how to cultivate it, and how to enact it too. This program is offered at no cost to attendees.

    What questions to you have about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia? Send them to and I’ll use this space to answer some of them.

    Until next time, be well.

    David Hart, Ph.D., is the director of clinical services at Always Best Care Senior Services in Torrance and is a faculty member in the Department of Counseling at California State University, Fullerton. Hart, founding chair and member of the South Bay Dementia Education Consortium, specializes in working with older adults with dementia and their families. For more information, go to or contact him at or at (310) 792-8666.

    Rising senior living costs limit long-term care options for some

    By Eva Vigh | 8:00 am Dec. 11, 2018 CST
    Link to original article

    Since last year, Spring resident Monica Padgett said she has struggled to find affordable housing for her 80-year-old grandmother and mentally disabled uncle. The pair live in a senior living complex, but they need a cheaper facility that still provides the same level of care, Padgett said.

    “When we started looking around for assisted living facilities in the area so [my grandmother]could live close by, it was impossible to find anything in her price range,” Padgett said. “It seems like there’s no options for them.”

    Across Harris County, senior living costs have trended upward in recent years largely due to higher-end consumers demanding more amenities, said Gregory Shelley, director of the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program at Cizik School of Nursing at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. In Harris County, assisted living facilities can cost as much as $8,000 a month depending on the level of service and features, he said.

    Ombudsmen advocate to improve the quality of life for residents in long-term care and work with consumers to find affordable housing.

    “If money is a difficulty, there [are]still some viable options for folks,” Shelley said.

    Meanwhile advocates and senior living facilities in Spring and Klein are working to offer more affordable rates and services while still accounting for senior needs, including rising medical costs and the demand for new services, such as technology classes.

    “Across the board … [the cost for senior living has]been trending upward. It’s been coinciding with the cost of living. I don’t think it’s been anything drastic,” said David Chandler, executive director of Wood Glen Court Assisted Living on Cypresswood Drive. “Residents are still going to save a lot of money coming in versus staying at home, falling and injuring themselves.”

    Growing needs
    The elderly population in Harris County has been growing, and its needs range from financial assistance to memory care. From 2010 to 2016 the number of residents ages 65 and older in the nine ZIP codes that comprise Spring and Klein rose from 27,844 to 37,688—a 35 percent increase—according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    As of November, bills filed for the 2019 state legislative session affecting senior care include House Bill 288, which would increase the minimum monthly personal allowance, or money that Medicaid recipients may retain from their personal income, of an individual in a long-term care; and HB 284, which would require nursing homes to provide a written notice of whether it is certified in Alzheimer’s care.

    Sam Harless, Texas House District 126 representative-elect, said he plans to support the needs of the growing elderly population, such as ensuring facility regulations are upheld.

    “There’s a huge need for assisted living facilities … Our senior population is growing every single day out here. It’s affected a lot of our businesses in the community,” Harless said.

    The Texas Department of Health and Human Services lists 36 assisted living facilities and 56 home health care agencies in the nine ZIP codes that comprise Spring and Klein. However, the area lacks nursing homes for Alzheimer’s and dementia care as well as ones that accept Medicaid-pending patients, or senior who have applied for Medicaid and are awaiting a decision, Shelley said.

    In all of Harris County, Shelley said there are only three nursing homes with certified Alzheimer’s care units. One of them—Pathways Memory Care on Cypress Grove Meadows Drive—is in the Spring and Klein area.

    The facility has a limited number of Medicaid-licensed beds, which can be an issue if a patient exhausts his or her private pay funds, said Angela Norris, senior vice president of business development at Stonegate Senior Living, which manages Pathways.

    “It’s a challenge for folks. You want to make sure when you are admitting someone that they are able to stay there for the duration of the time they need care,” she said.

    Lower-income options
    Across the county the cost for senior living facilities has been increasing.

    “The rough averages for assisted living locally have gone from about $3,000 a month in 2010 to $3,500 today,” Shelley said. “For nursing homes, it has moved from about $4,500 to $5,000 [a month].”

    Several independent living options in Spring and Klein exist for seniors with lower incomes, including Louetta Village Apartments on Louetta Road. The affordable housing offers 116 units for seniors. To qualify for reduced rent, households must earn less than 60 percent of the area median income, according to Affordable Housing Online, which lists low-income apartments by ZIP code or city. The median income in Spring and Klein is $76,211, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Meanwhile some assisted living facilities in the area are trimming costs for tenants by including more services in their room and board fees, said Alane Roberts, elder care advisor for Assisted Living Locators Northwest Houston. The organization provides guidance on finding homes for the elderly.

    “Most people need … medication management, and so a lot of places are starting to include that and maybe one or two additional very basic type services, [such as]help getting out of bed or help with dressing,” Roberts said.

    Another cost-saving option is unlicensed residential care homes, which are not regulated by the state, Roberts said. The average monthly cost for a shared room in Spring and Klein is about $2,000, while a shared room in a licensed home can cost up to $3,500.

    “They serve a very necessary market in the elder care space because there’s just a staggering amount of people that are aging that have little to no savings,” she said.

    According to a representative from Patrick J. Wehrly Office, a financial planner on Spring Cypress Road, the average 65-year-old should have $650,000 in savings and $15,000 in emergency funds. However, the average 65-year-old in the Greater Houston area has only $50,000 and no emergency funds, the representative said in an email.

    New services
    Facilities in Spring and Klein are facing their own challenges, including recurring flood issues and increased demand for more services. Hurricane Harvey flooded many facilities along Cypresswood Drive—including Autumn Leaves of Cypresswood, Sycamore Creek Ranch and Atria Cypresswood. But following approval of the $2.5 billion Harris County Flood Control District bond in August, elected officials and local facility owners said they hope the worst flood events are over.

    “Unfortunately it probably wasn’t the wisest thing to build assisted living close to Cypress Creek,” Harless said. “I am confident that the flood bond that passed will alleviate the flooding.”

    In October, Autumn Leaves of Cypresswood, an assisted living memory community, reopened its renovated facility. The facility took on nearly 3 feet of water and had to evacuate its residents to its sister community, Autumn Leaves of Cy-Fair, said Michael Tanner, regional director of operations at Autumn Leaves.

    “In the beginning it was hard. We had over 60 residents in one community,” Tanner said.

    Tanner said the emergency evacuation plan was successful, but the facility will have alternate evacuation routes planned in the future in case its original route is flooded.

    Meanwhile Wood Glen Court Assisted Living on Cypresswood Drive, which did not flood, is working to accommodate for its residents’ growing health care needs. Tenants are increasingly having more medically complex cases, such as congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s or diabetes, Chandler said. In November, the facility increased its nursing staff from five to seven days, he said.

    Alongside rising medical needs, seniors are generally requesting more amenities, Chandler said. Six months ago Wood Glen Court unrolled a weekly technology class based on resident requests that teaches basic tech skills, such as how to use a cell phone.

    Such services would have been rare a few years ago, but now that seniors are using email and social media to communicate and remain active politically, it is becoming more of a commodity, Chandler said.

    “Our residents are active on social media; they go on Facebook,” he said. “During this recent election I saw [residents]using technology to engage with some of the people running for office.”

    Texas senior living developer coming to Venice

    By Chris Wille
    Real Estate Editor
    Posted Nov 15, 2018 at 4:42 PM
    Updated Nov 15, 2018 at 4:42 PM

    Options are independent living, assisted living and memory care

    A Dallas-based national health care real estate firm is expanding its portfolio of Heartis-branded senior living communities into Florida.

    Heartis Venice will have 182 units offering independent living, assisted living and memory care, a host of first-class amenities and expansive water views. The three-story, 191,000-square-foot structure, which will be at 1199 South Tamiami Trail, is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020.

    Caddis, the developer, said Heartis Venice will offer a wide variety of amenities, including a swimming pool; landscaped grounds with walking paths, seating areas and pocket parks; a wellness center; beauty salon/barber shop; activity rooms; large, secured courtyards; multiple dining options with chef-prepared meals; and ongoing social and recreational activities.

    Special services will include a community shuttle service, nurse-supervised staff, 24-hour emergency call system, housekeeping and laundry services, and assistance with personal activities.

    The monthly costs for two levels of service compare favorably with national and local median prices. Heartis Venice rates start at $3,200 per month for independent living and $3,600 a month for assisted living. Caddis does not disclose other rates.

    For comparison’s sake, Genworth has conducted its national Cost of Care Survey to help families understand the costs of varying types of care across the U.S. The 2018 survey, conducted by Carescout and covering 440 regions, is based on more than 15,500 completed surveys.

    The Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2018 shows that the national median cost for an assisted living facility is $4,000 per month and a private room in a nursing home will cost around $8,400.

    For the Sarasota-North Port-Bradenton region, those same median monthly figures come to $3,874 for assisted living and $9,885 for a private room in a nursing home, the survey showed.

    Caddis said it will begin accepting reservations for Heartis Venice in the spring.

    CEO Jason L. Signor said the company is well known for its Heartis senior communities in Texas but the company has been expanding into other areas of the country, including Illinois, Wisconsin and Georgia. Eleven of the 17 Heartis communities are in Texas.

    “Our nationwide brand expansion has provided seniors with lavish new living options,” Signor said in the announcement about Venice.

    Caddis launched the Heartis senior living brand in early 2013.

    Jud Jacobs, executive vice president development and partner, said Heartis Venice will be in an ideal location.

    “Heartis Venice is being built on Roberts Bay and will be surrounded on three sides by beautiful views of the ocean,” he said. “Plus it will be near restaurants, hotels, historic downtown Venice and Venice Beach and within walking distance to Legacy Trail, a 12-mile bicycle and walking path.”

    Search Teams Sift Through Assisted Living Home In Paradise; Death Toll Now 48

    By Lemor Abrams November 13, 2018 at 6:59 pm Filed Under:Camp Fire, Paradise

    PARADISE (CBS13) — Search and rescue crews worked for hours Tuesday at the site of an assisted living home, known as Heritage Paradise, which was reduced to a pile of rubble by the Camp Fire.

    Crews wore special gear and gloves so they could go in with their own two hands, moving large pieces of blackened furniture, charred wheelchairs, and gurneys out of the way to get to the victims who may be buried underneath it all.

    David Ramey is a volunteer with Nevada County’s search and rescue team. He says he’s used to searching for missing hikers, but never has he sifted through ash and debris in search of human remains.

    READ: Horse Survives Camp Fire By Jumping Into Someone’s Pool To Escape The Flames

    “It may be that it got too hot and we’re not going to find anything, but you never know,” he said.

    The search is so vast that volunteers are getting a lot of help. Firefighters joined the grim search effort, many of them, just off the front lines.

    Cal Fire Spokesman Manuel Garcia said fatigue really sets in for the firefighters. Garcia says the Heritage Paradise site was just one of the thousands of properties that still need to be searched.

    “Everyone has to work together to accomplish the mission,” he said.

    ALSO: THE LATEST: Camp Fire Grows To 130,000; Six More Found Dead

    It’s a mission Ramey hasn’t even started to register.

    “Right now I don’t think it’s set in the emotional part of it. I’m still kind of looking at this as rubble but that might change at some point,” he said.

    For now, he said there’s a lot more work to be done. Crews said they did not discover any bodies at that site on Tuesday. But six more human remains were found in Paradise homes, bringing the death toll to 48.

    ‘The end of a long dream’ — Senior living community celebrates opening

    By Jenna Lawson – Staff Writer

    A $10 million dollar senior living development on the site of the former Community Hospital is complete after over a year of construction.
    The project created nearly 50 units and is Springfield’ first “pocket neighborhood.”

    Construction on Community Gardens started in Sept. 2017 near the intersection of Burnett Road and East High Street.

    “It’s the end of long dream of creating a really special senior community for Springfield,” said Neighborhood Housing Partnership’s Executive Director, Tina Koumoutsos, during a grand opening celebration Tuesday.

    Koumoutsos said the community is designed to get neighbors to interact with each other. Several front porches face each other and sidewalks connect each unit.

    There are also no steps anywhere in the community, so it’s able to be accessed by anyone.

    “It’s gonna be a great for our seniors to age in place and I think it’s gonna be a great asset to Springfield,” she said.

    She said the need for senior housing in Springfield is very real, and the waiting list to live in Community Gardens reflects that.

    “We have over 500 potential residents on a waiting list for a project like this,” Koumoutsos said.

    Rents for the units will be based on three tiers of incomes and the cost of utilities will be reduced.

    Koumoutsos and the Neighborhood Housing Project helped to lead the project, along with several other community partners including Ian Maute, the Vice President of Development for Buckeye Community Hope Foundation.

    “It really was kind of screaming for something to be built here,” he said.

    Maute said there were 50 units constructed in the first phase of construction, and on Community Gardens’ grand opening — 40 of those units were already occupied with the rest expected to be filled within the next two weeks.

    The City of Springfield, also a major partner, called the project a huge win.

    “This is the type of stuff our community needs. These are the types of projects that are gonna help us move our community forward,” Springfield Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck told a crowd of people who gathered for the grand opening. “There were several challenges along the way, but as Springfield does we came together as partners, as a community and found solutions to those problems.”

    Getting state tax credits to finance the project proved to be one of those struggles. The first application was submitted and first denied in 2016. That’s when the Neighborhood Housing Partnership partnered with other groups like the Buckeye Hope Community and NeighborWorks America — and tried again.

    It was rejected again, but then the state reconsidered its application and was eventually approved.

    Many of the community partners expressed their excitement about what’s next on the agenda.

    A second phase of Community Gardens will be developed. Other partners in the project include the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, NeighborWorks America, River Hills Bank and Kapp Construction.

    New upscale senior living communities riding the gray wave

    by: Andrew Warfield Lee-Collier Editor

    The “silver tsunami” is building and forward-thinking companies are providing customers with a new level of residential product.

    This allows this large demographic to ride the wave into the sunset in a manner that caters to their accustomed lifestyles without drowning in costs associated with the expensive buy-ins of continuing care retirement communities or the responsibilities of property ownership.

    These new-era active adult lifestyle communities, which are more like luxury apartment complexes but with wider range of amenities and resident care services, are becoming more available in rental units. They require no buy-ins, such as those charged by continuing care retirement communities, where the cost of entry can run from $500,000 to $2 million.

    Bruce Rosenblatt, owner and CEO of Senior Housing Solutions of Lee and Collier counties, says he has observed a discernible shift in his clients’ preferences toward simple rental, luxury residences.

    “There is definitely a trend for more independent-style housing with a variety of amenities for people who don’t want to put down a large upfront entrance fee but still want the services and the lifestyle these new kinds of communities offer,” says Rosenblatt. “When you have assisted living in the same community, that provides peace of mind that if you begin to need care, you don’t have to move out.”

    The simple rent model, Rosenblatt says, also offers flexibility not available in the CCRC model, or even in active adult single-family communities where buy-ins for the former and invested equity in the latter limit flexibility. And the rates, he adds, are competitive within the senior housing space.

    “Things change, and if you’re not putting down $100,000 on a house in an age-restricted community or paying an expensive buy-in, if you don’t like where you’re living, you can just move out,” says Rosenblatt.

    Colin Marshall, an executive in Fort Myers behind one of the newest non-CCRC communities, agrees that the model is a bit outdated.

    “You don’t need to take large sums of money from people to promise them good service and to provide a continuum of care,” says Marshall. “Once you are in our continuum of care, you are our priority. And we do it for nothing more than a rental agreement. People have things happen in life even after they retire, and they need to have that flexibility to make those changes. When you are locked into an agreement that is a half a million dollars or more, change becomes very difficult to deal with. If you ever feel like this isn’t the kind of environment for you, you give us 30- to 60-days notice and you’re out.”

    Like a hotel
    Among the newest market entries in Southwest Florida in this model is Amavida, set to open its 32-acre, 600,000-square-foot community off Gladiolus Drive in Fort Myers. At 460 units divided among independent living duplex cottages and apartments, assisted living and memory care units, Amavida is among the largest 55-plus rental communities in the region. It also marks the initial foray into the active adult and assisted living space for London, England-based private equity giant Quadrum Global, with U.S. offices in New York City and Miami.

    Quadrum Global has invested more than $120 million into developing Amavida. Officials believe the lifestyle, vast amenities, dining and recreational options and luxury hotel atmosphere will result in a fundamental shift in senior living.

    The company tabbed Marshall, a 23-year industry veteran, to oversee construction and operations of the prototype, a model he says will be repeated, but locally customized, nationwide. Marshall is president of the Quadrum’s Senior Living Management Division.

    With a choice of markets in Florida to build the first Amavida, Marshall says Fort Myers made the most sense.

    “It boils down to location, demographics, anticipated utilization, the number of units the market can tolerate, how to amenitize and how does location lend itself to those amenities,” says Marshall. “This site has high visibility on a high-traffic road to the beach on a corridor that needed more life.”

    The site was a rare find, he adds, because of its direct access to the expansive Lakes Park to one side with a preserve on the other, lending privacy with no adjacent neighbors. In addition to the residential community, Amavida is entitled for 100,000 square feet of commercial and retail space fronting Gladiolus Drive for use by residents and the public.

    “None of the other sites we looked at had these advantages,” says Marshall.

    Amavida, like other recent entries in the local active adult rental community market, doesn’t require an expensive buy-in in exchange for a continuing care contract.

    Not that Amavida could be considered cheap, but, says Rosenblatt, it is priced competitively with communities that offer similar lifestyle and services. In addition to a community fee of $3,000, residents sign an annual rental agreement. Monthly rents range from $2,695 to $6,000 for independent living, $3,445 to $4,645 for assisted living and $6,000 for all-inclusive memory care. Rents in independent and assisted living are for one occupant. A second occupant is an additional $750 per month.

    Rents include all meals for assisted living and memory care and two meals per day for independent living, whose units have full kitchens; access to three on-site movie theaters, fitness centers, spas, salons and resort-style pools; choice of three restaurants where residents order from menus; bars; a coffee bar; and a variety of recreational opportunities.

    It represents a lifestyle, Marshall says, that honors the residents’ lifetime of work.

    “We’ve been called disrupters in this space because we do want to do it differently,” says Marshall. “We think the way it’s been offered until this point is something we could do better. We felt we could provide something that acknowledged our residents’ lifelong achievements in terms of when they are ready for the next chapter in their lives they will have something that honored that experience, and this is it.”

    Allure of Alloro
    In Sarasota, meanwhile, Troy, N.Y.-based United Group expects to soon close on the site of its planned Alloro at University Groves, a 183-unit active adult apartment community on University Parkway, just west of The Mall at University Town Center. The company has operated in the age-restricted active adult, choice-based housing sector for more than 30 years. It has been developing in Florida since 1983, and owns and operates Sandlewood Village in Naples and Diamond Oaks in Bonita Springs.

    “There is a huge need within the market,” says United CEO Michael Uccellini, whose company’s portfolio includes senior, student, apartment, commercial and mixed-use properties. “There are almost 30,000 seniors located within the primary market who could live there. People get to the point to where they are looking to rightsize and are looking for a community that offers friendship and companionship.”

    “Rightsizing” at Alloro is defined as 90 one-bedroom apartments from 708 to 1,038 square feet; 86 two-bedroom units from 1,081 to 1,512 square feet; and seven two-bedroom penthouse suites from 2,017 to 2,232 square feet. Rental rates have yet to be finalized, but they will begin around $1,750 per month with an overall average of $2,500 per month.

    Alloro will be fully amenitized, including a 14,000-square-foot clubhouse with commercial kitchen, dining room and bar. The Naples and Bonita Springs properties are similarly appointed, amenitized and priced.

    “Our product does not exist in the Sarasota market, and it typically doesn’t exist in a lot of the markets we go into,” says Uccellini.

    “We started out in the affordable space and then moved into market rate in the mid-1990s when we noticed that the silver tsunami was coming,” adds Uccellini. “The majority of the seniors in any of our communities are middle income, and 70% of them are people who sell their homes, and now they have more freedom to travel.”

    No cookie-cutter strategy
    Whereas United Group’s product design is essentially an age-restricted, highly amenitized apartment community, Quadrum Global’s Amavida line caters to an all-inclusive lifestyle. Marshall likens it to a cruise ship that never leaves port.

    Amavida has three swimming pools, the largest overlooking a pond with a view toward the community entrance. Its coastal contemporary architecture is consistent throughout, as are all the finishes, from the duplex cottages through the memory care units. In addition to meals at the restaurants, residents are entitled to weekly laundry service, even though all independent living apartments are equipped with washers and dryers.

    “We approach Amavida from three points: service, environment and audience appreciating what you do,” says Marshall. “If you check those boxes, you are on the way to serving those aging in place. That class of individual is more discerning and their expectations are greater. They don’t want cookie cutter, and that’s essentially what the industry has given them thus far.”

    Operating a 600,000-square-foot, all-inclusive, fully amenitized and partially licensed senior community requires a large staff. In addition to outside vendors providing some services — such as spa, salon and some dining — Marshall says Amavida will employ about 175.

    While demand is outpacing labor supply in the industry, the allure of Amavida, Marshall says, has drawn great interest for employment, adding it’s not uncommon to receive 200 applicants for a single position. In addition to the overall atmosphere, perks include access to health care from in-house medical staff with no copay.

    “There is an inherent shortage of talent in the senior living space because the industry has grown so quickly and faster than the demand for employment has been able to keep up with,” Marshall says. “But when you build a community like this, prospective employees are looking at it the same way our prospective residents are. When we go out and look for talent, we haven’t had to look hard or far because we are getting those calls on a regular basis.”

    Also appealing to employees as well as residents, says Marshall, is the coastal contemporary design, with wide, brightly lit hallways, expansive windows and high-end finishes that suggest a resort lifestyle.

    “I think anybody who comes in and looks at this community says, “Wow it’s amazing,” says Marshall. “They haven’t seen anything like this. Typically when you walk into a senior living community you know you are in a senior community. To that extent, we avoid calling it senior living. We simply call it Amavida living.”

    Senior Care Provider Makes $200 Million Investment In Tampa Bay

    By D’Ann Lawrence White, Patch Staff

    TAMPA, FL — ChenMed, a leading primary care provider, plans to open 10 new Dedicated Senior Medical Centers in Tampa Bay, a $200 million investment.

    The announcement coincided last month with the opening of Dedicated’s newest center in Largo, 7050 Ulmerton Road. Another grand opening is planned Oct. 17-18 for a Dedicated center in North Tampa, 1901 Fletcher Ave.

    ChenMed first introduced Tampa Bay Medicare-eligible seniors to Dedicated centers in August 2017 when it opened facilities in Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg.

    “We’ve seen burgeoning local demand for the affordable VIP care that Dedicated physicians and care teams consistently provide,” said Dr. Gordon Chen, ChenMed chief medical officer. “Remarkable organic growth, prompted by happy patients referring in family members and friends, is why our first three Tampa Bay centers attracted over 1,300 members in just six months, and then about doubled membership during our second six months of operation.”

    ChenMed operates about 50 Chen, Dedicated and JenCare Senior Medical Centers serving diverse elderly populations in seven states. It emphasizes prevention and services, offering on-site specialists and medication dispensing, door-to-doctor transportation and more face-to-face time with primary care physicians. Dedicated centers bring affordable health care to more Tampa seniors at little to no cost to patients.

    “For more than 30 years, ChenMed physicians have been practicing medicine differently,” said Dr. Gaurov Dayal, ChenMed president of new markets and chief growth officer. “Our PCPs share their cell phone numbers with patients, encouraging immediate calls and/or walk-in appointments whenever they might not be feeling well. Our doctors are passionate about honoring seniors with affordable VIP care that delivers better health.”

    Dr. Chen encouraged seniors and caregivers to attend the grand opening of the North Tampa center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and meet the Dedicated doctors.

    “Come see how we effectively detect and manage high-risk diseases; deliver VIP service; and reduce hospital sick days,” he said. “Come learn how we personalize care to help folks keep doing what they most enjoy with the family and friends they most love.”

    Dedicated will create 70 new jobs at the Largo and North Tampa center, and hundreds of jobs over the next five years, including physicians, clinical support staff, administrators and community engagement specialists.

    The new centers also are being supported by Turner Impact Capital, one of the nation’s largest social impact investment firms, through the Turner Healthcare Facilities Fund.

    “Turner Impact Capital is delighted to be helping ChenMed accelerate the openings of high-quality medical facilities for under-served patient populations,” said Bobby Turner, CEO, Turner Impact Capital. “The Turner Healthcare Facilities Fund is well-positioned to invest up to $500 million in community-serving healthcare facilities to measurably improve patient health, increase patient satisfaction and reduce disparities in healthcare outcomes in disadvantaged communities.”