Adviser Fall 2018 Vol 1 - Page 30

29 No Place Like Home: Christopher Community and St. Camillus’ New Harborbrook Apartments Help Seniors Age in Place with Supportive Services By Jeff Diamond For many adults, the well-known expression “there’s no place like home” takes on a particularly special significance as they enter their senior years. Aging in place and remaining active in the community has become a common goal and one that has reshaped the ways that providers, advocates and policymakers think and talk about aging services. When a senior’s home no longer accommodates his or her physical needs, however, this goal can become very difficult to achieve. This dilemma was on the minds of the leadership of Christopher Community, Inc. and The Centers at St. Camillus in 2013, when the organizations began discussing ways to expand their services into the Syracuse community. Staff recognized that many older adults who were not physically ill or did not have long term diagnoses often ended up in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) because they lacked the supports and services to live independently. With the discovery that St. Camillus owned most of the large parcel of open land directly adjacent to its campus, the conversation turned to designing and building permanent supportive housing that could accommodate those changing needs. The result of this dialogue between Christopher Community and St. Camillus is the new Harborbrook Apartments, a two-story building offering 60 one-bedroom independent living units and supportive services for a subset of residents that connect them to governmental and community resources, increase their self-management of personal and instrumental activities of daily living and provide assistance for personal care when formal services are not scheduled. Twenty of the 60 units are wheelchair accessible, and the other 40 are fully adaptable (equipped with cabinets that can be reconfigured if a resident suddenly requires a wheelchair and needs the ability to roll under the kitchen sink, for example). There are no bathtubs in the building; all 60 of the bathrooms include roll-in showers, with grab bars in place. Additional special design features such as lift systems are incorporated into units reserved for individuals with a severe physical disability or traumatic brain injury to enable easy wheelchair transfers in the absence of an aide. In addition to the units, Harborbrook residents have access to a community room and a wellness room with fitness equipment, suitable for exercise classes, fall prevention workshops and other wellness activities. Adviser a publication of LeadingAge New York | Fall 2018