Raise Your Expectations

A new retirement community offers an elevated living environment.

The sun is rising on a clear, cloudless day and the morning yoga class you signed up for doesn’t start for another hour. That leaves you with plenty of time to stroll through the gardens on your way to the cafe, where you can relax and savor your morning coffee.

With spacious courtyards, groomed walking paths and outdoor seating, The Meridian at Brandon looks and feels like a resort.

For many, that’s how a day on vacation in a resort-like setting often starts. It’s also the backdrop for how a day spent living at The Meridian at Brandon could begin.

For seniors who seek or require supportive independent or assisted living, The Meridian at Brandon has reimagined retirement in a way that allows residents to live active lives in a community designed like a boutique hotel.

With spacious courtyards, groomed walking paths and outdoor seating, The Meridian at Brandon looks and feels like a resort. And resort-like living is what The Meridian offers through its seemingly endless list of amenities.

“The amenities here are just crazy beautiful, and we have just about everything anyone would want or need,” says Margie Ferrino, sales director at The Meridian at Brandon. “We have a hair and nail salon, a theater, a fitness center and three gorgeous dining rooms.

“We have a piano lounge, an art studio, a library and computer suite, and a card and game room. A lot of time and effort has gone into the physical planning of the property to ensure the experience is fun and residents have plenty to do.”

Even more time has been devoted to planning for the transition residents make when they go from living an independent lifestyle to one in which care is needed. That is at the heart of what The Meridian at Brandon offers.

Many senior living communities model themselves on the “aging-in-place” concept. For most, however, aging in place is only a concept. At The Meridian at Brandon, aging in place is a reality that residents can depend on.

“All residences are licensed as assisted living,” Margie explains. “So even if you’re living independently and suddenly develop a need for services, we bring assisted living services to you in the apartment home you chose and made your own. You don’t need to move to another apartment in another wing of the community. You stay where you are, where you’re comfortable, where you know your neighbors and friends.

“That’s a very unique concept, and it’s an idea often talked about conceptually but is very seldom provided. Even full-service retirement communities often relocate residents when their health care needs increase.”

Typically, those residents need to be moved from an apartment in the independent living community to one in the assisted living community. For many, the transition can prove difficult.

“It can be confusing and stressful,” Margie expresses. “That won’t happen at The Meridian at Brandon because we have created an environment that allows for aging in place to be a genuine reality. It’s something our residents and their families can plan their lives around and depend on: assisted living services, when and if you need it.”

Residents at The Meridian at Brandon can also depend on a nurse and resident care team being onsite 24/7, partnering to provide individual service plans based on each person’s needs.

Services include medication assistance; specialized diets; dressing, grooming and assistance with bathing; incontinence care; assistance with ambulation; and assistance getting to and from activities and meals.

“Whether you come to us with no service needs at all or you just need help with your medications, we can always add assisted living services when and if they become necessary,” Margie reminds. “And again, you won’t be relocated for that.

“If a resident should develop an advanced level of dementia where they are in danger of wandering, or if a resident is exit-seeking, we would relocate that resident to our secure memory care community.”

Physical Wellness

Staying physically active is a priority as we age, so assisted living residents will benefit from a program called Revolution in Motion. The program is geared toward seniors and focuses on improving strength and balance.

A unique exercise program will be offered by an exercise physiologist, who will teach individualized routines to both assisted living and memory care residents. The fitness center is outfitted with the latest state-of-the-art recumbent bikes and balance equipment to track their improvement.

“We have prioritized complete wellness,” Margie insists. “That’s why we have so many beautiful amenity spaces. Our daily programming requires rooms for activities that keep us mentally, socially and physically engaged.”

Safe and Secure

The Meridian at Brandon

The Meridian’s memory care neighborhood was designed intentionally and thoughtfully, taking into account how those with dementia function throughout their day. Like the independent and assisted living side of the community, it offers exciting amenity spaces just for memory care residents that will help encourage them to be as independent as possible. Those spaces include a salon and barbershop, music and art room, therapy kitchen and dining room and cafe.

What makes it unique, though, is a foundational program called Montessori Moments in Time. Developed through years of extensive research into Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, the program strives to fill residents’ days with purpose and meaningful moments.

“In our memory care community, many of our activities are geared toward the resident’s previous profession or hobbies,” says Stacy McCanless, executive director of The Meridian at Brandon. “In that way, we can engage the residents very purposefully and thoughtfully.”

For example, the therapeutic kitchen provides a home-like atmosphere in which individuals can gather to chat with others or engage in supervised activities that increase confidence and a sense of usefulness.

“We also have special areas that reflect the people who will live here and their interests,” Margie adds. “For instance, we have a small area outfitted with all the supplies you usually find in an office. For people who worked in an office or who were business people, they can ‘go to work’ for a while in an environment that is comfortable for them and may bring them back to that period in their lives.

“There will be another area like that for people who were homemakers and took care of children. And again, these can change depending on the interests of the residents who are living here at the time.

“In one of our campuses, we had a resident who worked in a bridal shop, and they set up a little space that was made up to look like a bridal boutique. They would go in there and fuss with the wedding gowns, and it was great for them.”

There’s no reason why these spaces can’t be beautiful, she points out.

“The way we see it, there is no reason why someone living with dementia should live in an area that is less attractive or lacks the ambiance that you’ll find in the independent and assisted living side of the campus,” she says.

“We’ve taken great strides to ensure that our residents live in a safe and exquisite environment that they’re happy and proud to call home, and we’ve made every effort to make sure the whole community feels special.”

Through social gatherings and volunteer opportunities, The Meridian at Brandon has also taken great strides to ensure that family members of those residing in the secure memory center remain connected with their loved ones.

“Family members are never left out of the loop,” Margie asserts. “Everyone who receives services in assisted living and memory care is on an individualized care plan. We work together with our families, our residents, their health care providers and members of the multidisciplinary team to provide input on the resident’s needs.

“In that way, we are able to communicate professionally and timely to family members, so there are no surprises. And that’s significant. You never want family members to show up after a week or two and suddenly learn their mother or father has suffered a noticeable decline.”

Fine Dining

The Meridian at Brandon also offers a life-enrichment program that stresses lifelong learning and regularly offers residents an opportunity to visit local theater productions, learn from expert speakers and access all that the Tampa Bay area has to offer.

And then there’s the food. No matter your place of residence at The Meridian at Brandon, the dining is an experience all its own, with each dining room offering table service, while the Sunrise Bistro offers healthy grab-and-go options for those looking for a quick bite on the run.

“We’re not serving meals in bedrooms or offering anything buffet-style,” Margie shares. “Dining is an opportunity to socialize, which is very healthy. We have chefs who prepare the food, and we have waited table service in the dining rooms.

“Because nutrition is very important, the menu always reflects a commitment to our dining experience and delicious, healthy eating. Presentation is key. Even at the grab-and-go bistro, everything is pre-plated, looks beautiful and tastes great.

“And the dining rooms are just that. They’re dining rooms. We’re not going to be clearing anyone out of there an hour-and-a-half after we start to serve breakfast or lunch because we’ve got to set up a social event or something. Those activities have a designated place somewhere else on campus. Dining rooms serve as dining rooms, which is all part of providing an environment that makes you feel like you’re on vacation every day!”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photos courtesy of The Meridian at Brandon. js


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    • The Meridian at Brandon

      For their residents with dementia, their memory care neighborhood is second to none. The Meridian at Brandon is setting a new standard with intentional features and thoughtful design to aid residents in living as independently as possible. T... Read More