Where seniors live, and the living is good!
From the time I was a little girl until shortly after I graduated from college, three of my four grandparents had resided in some type of nursing home — at least, that’s what they were called back then.
We moved my grandmother into a home that was, quite literally, a home … a big, old rambling house with a large, sprawling front porch, numerous bedrooms, a front parlor, and a large dining room that had been retrofitted to accommodate the senior citizens who resided there. It was a warm and inviting place, and each weekend, my mother and I would make the hour drive to visit. It wasn’t long before we got to know all the staff and residents quite well, and they became like a second family to us.
My other two grandparents, who were in fairly good health but couldn’t really take care of a house anymore, moved to a more hospital-like facility. The residents seemed well cared for, but I can’t say it was a place I could ever imagine calling home.
As people are living longer, the need for good senior living facilities has grown exponentially. We want a place in which our older loved ones will feel comfortable, where they will thrive and become part of a community. Fortunately, there are many excellent options, such as Atria Darien, located at 50 Ledge Road in Darien, which offers senior residents a veritable menu of choices, from independent living to assisted living to short-term stays, as well as numerous clubs, activities and classes, and dining that has been transformed into a culinary experience.
“If senior citizens are moving into a senior citizen facility, they want it to be exactly like the external world, offering interactive programs and activities, state-of-the-art fitness centers and certified trainers, quality food, and most importantly, the opportunity to have a voice, and a say, in what is being offered,” explains JoAnn Panella, executive director.
With the independent and assisted living portion of its demographic being active, well educated, well traveled, and interested in life and continuing to learn and grow, Atria’s Darien program is resident-driven. Along with its “Engage Life” director, residents make recommendations and review programs, according to Panella. “We want our programs to be what the residents want them to be,” she says.
To date, Atria Darien offers a seven-day-a-week fitness program with certified trainers, a Skype program with France in which residents can learn or improve their French, lecture series and presentations on current topics (Billie Jean King, an ambassador for Atria, has been a guest lecturer) and other cultures, a veterans rowing and kayaking program in which members train to go out on the water, a group that puts on mystery plays, and a “Chef’s Table,” during which residents have the opportunity to join Atria Darien’s executive chef to create and share their favorite recipes.
Atria communities are based on a social model, not a skilled nursing model, with almost 60% of residents living independently or requiring only medication reminders, according to the company’s website. With the support of a trained, 24-hour staff, all residents enjoy an active lifestyle with the freedom to spend time as they please, all while benefiting from a broad array of services and amenities that include:
- Chef-prepared meals with table service in on-site dining venues.
- Scheduled transportation for local events, errands and appointments.
- A social calendar with daily opportunities for learning, creativity, fitness, and fun.
- Weekly housekeeping and linen services.
- On-site physical and occupational therapy services.
- Private apartments with personal alert systems in case of emergencies.
“This is their home,” Panella says of the residents, “and our goal is for them to engage life here, including all of life’s physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, and emotional aspects. The best way to understand all that we have to offer is to come in for a visit, attend a program or enjoy a meal. We are always here and our doors are open!”
For more information, visit atriadarien.com or call 203-662-1090, or visit Atria Darien on Facebook.