Senior living goes upmarket in New Jersey

Senior living goes upmarket in New Jersey

Always nice to hear what care home communities across the pond can offer, and with a ribbon-cutting cerermony on May 15th Chelsea Senior Living opened the doors to its most opulent building to date, in New Jersey.

Visitors to The Chelsea at Shrewsbury, in the borough of Shrewsbury, walk into an expansive lobby with an atrium and attached bistro, large windows all around and wide, senior-friendly hallways. The dining room is open and airy with more windows, outdoor seating and a granite-topped island for the chef to serve specialities directly to diners.

On the second floor, the memory care wing – called the Country Cottage – has its own dining room and recreation area. And on the third floor, residents find a beautiful tavern with a high, circular ceiling and a rustic feel, an art studio and gallery with a multi-purpose activity room connected to a movie theatre.

“We’re redesigning the buildings much more senior-friendly,” said Roger Bernier, President and Chief Operating Officer of Chelsea Senior Living. “The decor is a little bit more modern to some extent, really looking at the baby boomers coming up.”

And that’s the key to the future of senior housing, says the company, “the current generation of seniors just turning 65 and beyond, who expect more than just a one-room apartment and three meals a day”. The amenities found at The Chelsea at Shrewsbury are not unique to that community: “They are becoming must-haves and points of comparison for families shopping around for the next place for mom, dad or even themselves to live in.”

Roger believes that In 2019 there is an increased emphasis on ageing in place “which means a return to some of the elements assisted living was supposed to be an alternative for – hospital beds”.

He says: “What’s happened – and I think it’s a good thing – is we’ve really embraced ageing in place. People want to stay in their homes. And so, we have evolved. We’re still not over-regulated like skilled nursing, so we’re able to do some really creative things and allow people to stay in our places through third-party providers such as hospice and by adding a little more nursing staff.”

By spring 2020, Chelsea Senior Living will be 21 properties strong, having grown from 11 just a decade ago.

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