RICHMOND, Virginia—Today it’s called creative disruption. In the 90s it would have been known as a paradigm shift. Whatever terminology you use, Lakewood at Home is changing the landscape of senior living in the Richmond area.
Hilton and Margaret Almond are charter members of Lakewood at Home. They have lived in their comfortable west end home in Richmond for 46 years, and they want to stay in their home as they age.
“It’s the only house we’ve owned,” Hilton Almond says. “We’ve raised our children here. We have nothing but fond memories of our home.”
Neither Hilton nor Margaret particularly wanted to move to a retirement community, although both recognized the potential need for continuing care as they age and both wanted to find a way to protect their assets against unanticipated long-term care expenses. The couple found what they were seeking in Lakewood at Home, a recently launched senior living initiative by LifeSpire of Virginia.
A FOUNDATION OF COORDINATED CARE
Lakewood at Home is a membership program for active, healthy adults living at home in the Richmond area, explains Tammy Mackey, the program’s executive director. Affiliated with Lakewood, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Richmond’s west end, Lakewood at Home allows seniors to remain in their homes as long as medically feasible. With a one-time membership fee and reasonable monthly fees, Lakewood at Home also offers the financial protection of long-term care insurance.
“Many people have heard about Lakewood and know that it is a continuing care retirement community,” Mackey says. “Instead of moving to a community from their home to receive care, people can stay in their homes, and we bring that level of care to them as they need it. Plus, as a member of this program, seniors never have to worry about being hit with catastrophic nursing home or home health care bills if they need to move to a higher level of care.”
The foundation of Lakewood at Home is care coordination with a focus on health and wellness, Mackey explains. Membership in Lakewood at Home offers activities that encourage and enable wellness. These activities begin when a person joins and continue throughout the life of the member.
“Lakewood at Home’s care coordinator facilitates any care needs a member may have as they age, including home care, rehabilitation, assisted living or skilled nursing care,” Mackey says. “If and when a person needs additional levels of care, we help them transition to a partnering community like Lakewood at no additional cost.”
NEW CHOICE FOR RICHMOND SENIORS
Although new to the Richmond area, the concept of CONTINUING CARE AT HOME (CCaH), or continuing care without walls, first developed in the 1980s. Friends LifeCare, a senior care provider in Plymouth, Pennsylvania, established the first CCaH program in the U.S. in 1987. Since then, enrollment in that program has increased to more than 2,500 people, and more than 30 similar models are now available throughout the country.
LifeSpire of Virginia, the company that manages Lakewood, Lakewood at Home, and three other continuing care retirement communities across the state, is the first to bring the CCaH concept to the Richmond area. Alexandria, Virginia-based Goodwin House launched its Goodwin House at Home model in June 2014.
Jonathan Cook, president and CEO of LifeSpire, says it all comes down to offering choices to seniors.
“We want to provide seniors choices in how and where they age,” Cook says. “As we strive to provide resident-centered care, we believe the CCAH MODEL IS A GREAT LONG-TERM PLAN for healthy active seniors living in their homes.”
Margaret Almond agrees. “We just felt like it was a perfect fit for us, and we are a perfect fit for it,” she says.
Lakewood at Home launched in February 2019. The program anticipated signing 12 members in the first year. In the first three months, 20 people have joined the program.
“Given these early indicators of interest, we are considering expanding the program,” Mackey says. “We are excited about the interest that has been shown so far.”
THE COMING ‘AGE WAVE’
The CCaH concept also helps address the challenges associated with the coming “age wave.” The U.S. Census Bureau PREDICTS in its 2017 National Population Projections that all baby boomers will be older than age 65 by 2030, and 1 in 5 Americans will be retirement age. Older people are expected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.
Given that 87 percent of senior adults, 65 and older, want to STAY IN THEIR HOMES as they age, the need for long-term care — and long-term care financing — will be greater than ever. And, the potential for caregiver stress is particularly significant, especially if the caregiver is a friend or family member.
Lakewood at Home offers the financial protection of long-term care insurance while also removing the stress caregivers often face associated with coordinating, arranging and paying for custodial care of their loved ones.
“The beauty of continuing care without walls is that we aren’t bound by bricks and mortar,” Cook says. “We have the flexibility to expand the program as needed based on interest and demand.”