What are care suites? Learn about this unique community living model.

 

Pioneers in the industry

If you visit a Walker Methodist care suites neighborhood, you’ll notice something special. “The residents, along with the aide on duty, are family here,” said Amanda Pitsenbarger, executive director of Care Suites of Edina. “Residents are still vibrant and vital members of our community.”

Since 1992, Walker Methodist has been leading the senior living industry in the care suites model. At the core, care suites model our mission of Life. And all the living that goes with it. Beginning in Edina, care suites were created to provide high levels of assistance in a home-level environment.

“This model of living sets people up for success,” Amanda said. “It allows them to stay independent for as long as possible.”

Care suites are made of units of five personal apartments—complete with kitchenettes and private baths—and a shared living area. Looking around our Care Suites of Edina, you might not wonder why the hallways are short and wide, but staff see the effects every day. “For those dealing with memory loss or dementia, seeing a long hallway may be enough to keep them from ever leaving their apartment,” explained Amanda. Short hallways look less daunting, and less daunting means residents feel more secure and free to move about the building.

This attention to detail and understanding is a hallmark of Walker Methodist’s care suites model, but it’s not the only thing that sets our model apart. To accommodate older adults who may need more help to feel comfortable or safe, the resident-to-caregiver ratio is 5:1, which means someone is quickly available whenever a resident needs assistance.

Caregivers manage medications and help with bathing, dressing, and grooming. And, skilled staff create individualized care plans for residents based on their wants and needs, making space and time for what matters most to residents.

“The majority of people living in these neighborhoods benefit most from encouragement and structure,” said Amanda.

And if a resident’s needs increase? Transition to increased care is easy. When a resident moves into Care Suites of Edina, their rate stays the same—even if more care is added. What doesn’t change, though, is the community at care suites.

Creating a community

It’s no secret care suites offer best-in-class service, but the community they create is unique, too. With a greater level of attendance to individuals, aides get to know residents personally. In fact, supplies stay in-unit so aides are always present, and residents can gather in the living area.

Even events are intentional at care suites. Everyone is invited to all events, but most activities go to the residents, rotating from neighborhood to neighborhood. If residents don’t want to or can’t leave their caregiver to engage, this model allows activities to come to them. Not only does this help residents make and maintain friendships—it allows them to serve their community.

“Some residents serve for parties and at dining time. Other residents help roll silverware or make decorations for upcoming events,” said Amanda. “Residents look out and advocate for each other. At care suites, neighbors are serving neighbors.”

Care suites are available at seven locations: Edina, Highview Hills, Plaza, and Westwood Ridge, as well as Havenwood of Buffalo, Burnsville, and Minnetonka.

Topics: Care and Programs, Communities, Featured

Amy Weiss

Written by Amy Weiss

Walker Methodist storyteller and marketing assistant

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