Bridgewater Assisted Living Gets New Energy

As residents, team members and visitors can attest, there have been many positive changes at Bridgewater Retirement Community over the years. The recent construction phase—which includes both improvements and new buildings—is winding down, and the results will yield dividends for current and new residents alike.

One group that will soon see a noticeable change is our Assisted Living (AL) community. Our current AL residents (except for those in the Wampler Wing, which has already been refurbished) will be moving to a brand-new wing. After the move, we will begin the next phase of construction with renovations on the existing AL buildings. And when that is complete, we will be able to admit new residents, and those residents will also get upgraded apartments—a win for everyone.

Our philosophy of Assisted Living

It’s our observation that quality of life is best when people remain as independent as they can in their daily living. Residents enter BRC’s Assisted Living because they require help with some tasks of daily living, which can be a physical need such as bathing or dressing, or regular homemaking routines such as laundry and housekeeping. Some have mobility limitations, which can cause people to become isolated if they live alone. So, while recognizing the reality of individual ability and preference, BRC supports AL residents in maintaining independence and offers an environment that supports wellness in all its dimensions. Our philosophy not only provides countless opportunities for engagement, it provides incentives to be as self-sufficient as possible.

According to Candise Williams, marketing counselor for both assisted living and independent living, in the past year roughly half of new AL residents came to BRC from the greater community. “For these residents, Bridgewater Assisted Living is usually a step up, not down,” she said, dismissing the idea that Assisted Living is necessarily a landmark on the road to nursing care. “It’s unusual, but we recently had a resident who regained enough mobility to move to independent living here at BRC.”

Connecting Assisted Living to Community (literally)

The new Assisted Living wing physically connects existing AL housing to the Houff Community Center via a corridor that also provides access to BRC’s soon-to-be newest dining venue, the Junction. It’s not only convenient, it’s a tangible reminder that people who need assistance can still be fully active, social members of the community. It is expected to open in late 2019 or early 2020.

Bridgewater’s Assisted Living offers a restorative care program of exercise and conditioning. Assisted Living residents also have access to BRC’s fitness center and all therapy programs. But physical well-being is only part of the equation. “We look at the wellness of the whole person—mental as well as physical and all the other dimensions of wellness,” Williams comments. “To that end, all our activities are resident-driven.” And there are a surprising number of activities—from local wineries to as far afield as Sight & Sound Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

AL residents have lots of options for dining, with more on the way. The renovated AL spaces include two dining rooms and, next year, a new eatery called the Gardenside Diner where they will be able to get a bite to eat any time from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Plus, residents are welcome to enjoy meals at the dining venues in the Houff Community Center—the aforementioned Junction, a beverage station called the Nook, and The Custer Room (BRC’s restaurant-style dining room). That gives residents lots of flexibility in when and what to eat.

A Team effort

Our most significant innovation with Assisted Living, however, has nothing to do with a new building. Bridgewater’s team members serve the needs of the residents, and not vice versa. The Assisted Living team helps with medication management in addition to those activities the residents need help with. A nurse is also available 24/7.

All BRC Assisted Living residents are ambulatory with or without assistive devices such as walkers or canes. Keeping up with them requires a certain amount of stamina! The residents set the agenda and design activities, and team members are along for the ride. Sometimes, that’s a serene watercolor class. Other times, it’s a trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. According to Williams, it’s all part of encouraging as much independence as possible—and fostering energy for life.