DARIEN, Conn. — When you walk into Maplewood at Darien, you almost wouldn't realize you're in an assisted living and memory care community. The sitting room, quiet library, fancy dining rooms, outdoor patios, pub, salon and well-lit bedrooms evoke the feel of a high-end hotel or apartment building.
The senior living facility celebrated its grand opening Thursday night with a reception. The 66 studio and one-bedroom apartments are divided into separate levels for residents with assisted living needs, those with the beginning stages of dementia and those with more advanced memory loss.
"One of the things that we've done differently is our 24/7 nursing staff," Maplewood CEO Gregory Smith said. Many assisted living facilities have certified nurses on hand for most of the day, with nursing assistants available after hours. If there is an emergency, the assistants call 911 and residents are taken to an emergency room. By having certified nurses available at all times, Maplewood greatly reduces the number of 911 calls and emergency room visits, Smith said.
A physician also makes house-calls to individual apartments, and the facility includes a wellness center.
The programs for memory care patients strive to treat them like adults and care for their emotions, said Mary Underwood, director of memory care programming.
"We focus on the needs of the human being. We try to focus on how they feel and give them the things that all adults need, which is respect, purpose, a sense of accomplishment."
About 20 percent of the rooms at the facility have already been reserved, said Andrea Ellen, vice president of marketing and communications. It can be challenging to persuade a senior to consider moving into an assisted living facility, she said.
"People who have lived in their house for years and raised a family can find it difficult to make a change. They may be isolated, spending too much time inside watching TV."
By moving into a facility such as Maplewood at Darien, seniors can interact with others and be social, as well as take part in activities in a comfortable atmosphere, Ellen said.
"You don't have to worry about the housekeeping or the laundry or transportation. You can focus on what you enjoy."