Home Fairfield Maplewood homes take shape

Maplewood homes take shape

With Maplewood at Darien nearing completion, Maplewood Senior Living is scouting other potential sites.

The ongoing evolution of assisted care is taking shape in Darien and Norwalk, as Maplewood Senior Living readies two new homes in addition to facilities in Danbury, Newtown and Orange.

The Darien facility will feature an entire floor dedicated to residents with Alzheimer’s disease or early dementia; and like other Maplewood facilities, will have round-the-clock nursing on hand.

Like some other companies, Maplewood offers short-term trial stays for potential residents still weighing whether to leave home and move into a senior community.

And in addition to assisted living and “memory care” in the industry parlance, Maplewood also offers “respite care” – short term stays for elderly people with an eye on giving their family or other caregivers a helping hand and some needed time off.

CEO Greg Smith said Maplewood at Danbury’s use of overnight nurses has cut emergency room visits by more than half, lowering both costs and consternation for residents.

The company offers medical services through its affiliated New England Medical Associates, whose medical director David Marks held a similar role with the Jewish Home for the Elderly, and before that was with Greenwich Hospital and Yale University School of Medicine.

“It’s an evolution,” Smith said. “The overnight nursing care was something that was brought up at the board level, and seemed the right thing to do.”

As health care providers develop new programs for seniors to combat dementia and lead fuller lives at more advanced ages, an assisted living organization is noting best practices across the country. In April, the Assisted Living Federation of America handed out awards to recognize specific programs at homes. Newton, Mass.-based Five Star Senior Living was lauded for its “step up to the plate” campaign to empower and train front-desk staff to address resident, family and staff needs when a facility’s executive director is unavailable.

In West Hartford, Hoffman SummerWood Community won notice for a poetry-writing workshop, which the facility’s executive director says has helped residents share their innermost feelings and unique perspectives.

And in Shelton, Crosby Commons was spotlighted for its “friends fighting falls” program under which about nine in 10 residents have avoided falls through a mix of evaluations, training, and the good-old-fashioned buddy system.

The Connecticut Assisted Living Association lists 26 facilities in Fairfield County, including Maplewood’s two new facilities in the final stages of completion. They arrive even as the occupancy rate at senior housing continued a modest recovery in the first quarter, while construction activity and year-over-year rent growth slowed, according to the National Investors Center (NIC) for the Seniors Housing and Care Industry.

While Smith said he has eyes on additional expansion in Fairfield County or possibly Westchester County, N.Y., more immediately the company is working on a deal to enter the Massachusetts market, with Smith declining to say where.

He did say the company has no plans to raise additional capital, saying it can expand on its existing financial structure.

“We have no issues on that front,” Smith said.

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