As Westchester’s aging population continues to grow, United Hebrew of New Rochelle continues to invest in its senior care facilities in order to meet the wide-ranging needs of today’s seniors. For some, those needs include advanced healthcare services and specialized programming. For others, who remain active and vibrant well past age 100, their needs are met by gracious living spaces with best-in-class amenities. With that in mind, United Hebrew recently completed a top-to-bottom renovation of its Willow Towers Assisted Living Facility, located on United Hebrew’s campus of comprehensive care.
The makeover includes a new beauty salon, an enhanced nursing care station, a new private room for the social gatherings, fresh paint and carpeting, new LED light fixtures throughout the building, and expanded program space in its Phoenix Memory Care Neighborhood.
“We’re always looking at how we can enhance our environment to best serve our residents across our entire campus of care,” says Rita Mabli, president and CEO of United Hebrew of New Rochelle. “These renovations offer new spaces for our assisted living residents to receive care, feel pampered, and spend time with their friends, which improves their overall quality of life.”
“Our residents are already enjoying the new spaces,” adds Nora O’Brien, PT, DPT, executive director of Willow Towers and Willow Gardens Memory Care. “We’ve not only made our community more beautiful, but enhanced our environment to better serve our residents with the most challenging needs.”
Enhanced memory care
Dementia is a progressive disease, and residents of the Phoenix memory care unit at Willow Towers are at different stages of impairment. Reconfiguring the space to allow for more individualized programming for its 30 memory care residents was a main goal of the renovations, according to the project architect, John Baumgarten. The hair salon and a waiting room were removed to expand activity space.
“By moving some service areas, we were able to create a new program room adjacent to the existing program space, separated by beautiful French pocket doors,” says Mr. Baumgarten, whose firm, JWB Architecture, specializes in healthcare, long-term care, and senior living community design. “The result is a large, sunny, and inviting area that can accommodate large gatherings or be divided for separate activities.”
The unit’s specially trained staff now has ample space to plan activities tailored for different levels of memory care, notes Dr. O’Brien. “That means our residents with moderate memory loss may be engaged in a more dynamic program such as art or music therapy, while those with more advanced dementia may be enjoying an activity geared toward reminiscing and having a pleasant time.”
The memory care neighborhood also features a light and soothing color palette; non-slip floor finishes for mobility aids such as walkers and wheelchairs; and LED lighting that is indirect and diffuse to reduce glare for diminished eyesight, adds Baumgarten.
The first floor of the building underwent significant changes. In the former nursing care station, a new, elegant hair salon with spa serviced opened. Upgrades include new washing, styling, and drying stations, and space for residents to receive manicures. The nursing station was expanded and relocated to an administrative area, which offers separate spaces for residents to receive medications, and treatment.
A cozy new activity room was created on the second floor, as an addition to Willow Towers’ existing community spaces, which include activity rooms, art rooms, a kitchen for cooking classes, library, and large outdoor courtyard. Formerly a loft space overlooking the two-story atrium-style dining room, the new enclosed room is open to residents for social activities and special occasions. The Willow Towers’ Men’s Club gathers there for its weekly happy hour and families of residents have celebrated birthdays and other special occasions in that space since it was opened.