As Arbor Landing at Hampstead meets its two-year anniversary, the community is adjusting to living in the age of coronavirus.
Excitement, challenges and adjustments have become the norm at Arbor Landing in Hampstead. When the senior living community celebrated its two-year anniversary in August, the staff and residents could not celebrate.
“We haven’t been able to do anything at all,” says Devon Parish, Arbor Landing’s director of community relations. She adds excitedly, though, “When this is ever over, we’re going to have a huge celebration.”
At that point, they will celebrate their success in providing quality senior living to the Hampstead community as well as the end of the coronavirus.
When the pandemic is over, it will mean that families will be able to come back in the building and spend time with their loved ones once again.
Arbor Landing offers independent living, memory care and assisted living services. They opened in August 2018, having chosen Hampstead for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that the parent company’s CEO, Jeff Dickerson, was born and raised in Hampstead. Arbor Landing is owned and managed by Ridge Care, based in Kernersville, which tends to choose a lot of suburbs for their community settings.
Ridge Care builds “in places that have a dire need,” Parish says. “Hampstead needed something like this so badly. We take so much pride in this building.”
On the independent living side, during “normal” times, residents are able to live completely independently. Many still drive and play golf and will go out and do things for themselves. When they find they need assisted living services, those are provided on site. Residents do not have to move when their needs change.
On the memory care side, there are more regulations for the safety of the residents and the staff. Parish notes that it can be challenging getting the families to understand all the differences in those regulations. Memory care has 19 beds and a waiting list of about 17.
Independent living residents have the first right to memory care when a bed does become available and it is determined they need that level of care.
The coronavirus restrictions have impacted all of the residents at Arbor Landing. When the pandemic first hit, no visitors were allowed. Visits were through a window or a fence for the safety of everyone involved. Parish notes that the isolation was difficult. “The whole reason they moved here was for the socialization,” he says.
Now that state restrictions have eased somewhat, the independent living residents can have one visitor per day, but that visitor must go directly to the resident’s apartment. Everyone, including staff, is screened every day, which includes having their temperatures taken.
Parish says that “morale is much better now that families can visit” and the community has had no COVID-19 cases to date. She adds that it is a hard balance between keeping residents safe and in good mental health. Residents still are only going out for doctor appointments or when their family takes them for a drive. Arbor Landing has not been able to organize any outings for the group.
The year has also seen a new executive director arrive. Nicole Wood began her new job two months ago, having come from an assisted living facility in Wilmington. Parish says that Wood has a long history in the senior living industry and “knows her stuff.”
Parish also knows her stuff, as she has been in the industry since before she graduated from college. She first volunteered at a nursing home then became a memory care activity director. She moved into sales, which she sees “more as a trusted advisor role.” She says she’s always had a passion for elderly folks. “They will tell you like it is!” she says. She thoroughly enjoys their stories, especially learning about what people have done their whole lives.
Ridge Care is “a different company,” Parish adds. “It’s so nice to work for a company that actually cares about the residents. It’s nice and refreshing in this industry.” One of the company’s core values is that “it’s all about the residents.”
The independent living community at Arbor Landing welcomes residents who are age 55 and older. Applicants will complete an assessment to ensure they can live independently, including providing information from their doctor, completing a medical questionnaire, meeting staff in person and completing a mini mental exam.
Parish says she is thankful for the residents who have chosen Arbor Landing.
“Arbor Landing is a nice place to work and a nice place to live,” she says.
Arbor Landing is located at 13937 U.S. Highway 17 in Hampstead. They can be reached at (910) 406-1451 or ridgecare.com/communities/arbor-landing-at-hampstead/.