Have It Your Way

All-inclusive assisted-living community provides customized care.

The sound of a live New Orleans-style jazz band filled the air at Cedar Creek Life Center on Fat Tuesday this past February.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Cedar Creek’s veterans memorial
honors the men and women who have served our country.

Such is life at Cedar Creek, an assisted- living community, where every effort is made to create an invigorating lifestyle and residents have a say in everything from the daily schedule of events to the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

“Most of what we do here is customized 100 percent to the residents,” says Cedar Creek executive director Jason Rodriguez. “All of our activities and outings, even our meals, are based on resident preferences.”

Licensed for 78 residents, Cedar Creek also provides personalized care in an all-inclusive package that allows for easy expansion should a resident’s needs change.

“A lot of facilities will charge extra for medication management, for doing your laundry and for helping residents take showers and things like that,” Jason relates. “We don’t do that. We have a base price, and it’s a very average base price.

“We have a flat-rate system, and by doing things that way, we can focus more on the resident and on the care side of things. That’s where our focus is. And the fact that we’re a small community allows us to provide our care on a more personalized basis.

“Everything is more personable here. I’ve worked in larger communities, and there’s a tendency in some of them to remember residents by room number instead of name. Here, we know everyone not only by name but by level of need.

“We have a family-like feel, because we not only know our residents, we know their sons and daughters, their grandchildren and the friends who come to visit them. That family feel is one of the benefits you get from being in a smaller community.”

“Everything is more personable here. … We know everyone not only by name but by level of need.”

Cedar Creek’s small community is served by a large staff that provides all levels of assistance, including housekeeping, medication management and daily grooming. Cedar Creek also offers transportation to and from appointments as well as on-site hospice care.

“We have a lab company that visits us for residents who need lab work done,” Jason relates. “We can have x-rays done on site as well, and we have a number of physicians who come on site, including a podiatrist who comes by every few weeks.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

At Cedar Creek, staff and residents alike focus on “the fun stuff.”

For residents who require or prefer, Cedar Creek also welcomes the services of several home-care companies, as well as physical, occupational, speech and psychology therapists.

At this pet-friendly community, staff members will even walk a resident’s dog or look after a cat or bird, if necessary. Jason points out that many of Cedar Creek’s residents are fully independent. Some even still drive their own car.

Maintaining independence is one of the reasons Cedar Creek allows residents to have such a large say in much of what happens in the community, where a resident council meets every month to map out activities, outings and possible menu changes.

“Our resident council meetings are very well attended, and that is where we update everyone on what’s happening in the community and discuss ideas for outings and things like that,” Jason reports.
“A lot of good ideas come out of those meetings. It was through our resident council that we decided a couple years ago to do a luau, where we brought in a steel drum band and exotic birds and had a pig roast, the whole nine yards.

“Two of our big focus points here are food and fun. That’s why our activities and dietary programs are two of the biggest made-to-order systems that we have. We’re big on that kind of stuff. We like to focus on the fun stuff.”

The “fun stuff” includes a varying schedule of activities and events. Most, such as morning stretching periods, exercise programs and visiting entertainers, take place in-house. Others take place away from the community.

“We have our own bus, and it runs five days a week,” Jason explains. “On Mondays and Fridays, for example, we have store outings where we take our residents to a local mall and they can spend a couple of hours shopping.

“We go out at Christmastime and tour various communities to see the Christmas light displays. And again, these are all things that we discuss with the residents so that they can have a say in what we offer them.

“As far as in-house events go, we’re big on the holidays, so at Christmas we have carolers come in. We’re going to have a health fair pretty soon, and we have events like community walks and fitness activities.”

Residents can be as busy as they want to be, and those who are busy tend to build up quite an appetite. Cedar Creek has that part covered as well. They have a private chef on staff who largely caters to the residents’ requests.

Those requests can be quite varied, of course. At breakfast, in particular, the chef and his staff easily meet those needs in a restaurant-style manner where virtually anything a resident asks for can be prepared.

“Our breakfast menu is 95 percent made to order, restaurant style,” Jason boasts. “All of our eggs are made to order. If you want poached eggs, you can have poached eggs. If you want an omelet, you can have an omelet.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

In the dining room, residents are treated to restaurant-style service.

“There is no standardized menu where you have option A and option B, and you pick one. Whatever you want, you can get. The same holds true at lunch and dinner, where we always have at least seven or eight options to choose from.

“We have the ability and the talent in the kitchen to do that, and our equipment is ready at all times, so if someone comes in at dinner and says, I’m not feeling any of this, can I just get some scrambled eggs and toast? We can do that.

“Our head chef has been with us for more than five years, and he does phenomenal work. In fact, the entire team here is phenomenal. It’s our great team that allows us to meet my objective for the residents, which I see as this:

“People come here because they need medical help, security or supervision. What keeps them here is being happy and excited about what’s ahead for them during the day. We make sure we provide that for them as well as everything they need.”

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