When it comes to memory loss, not all older adults fit neatly into the typical housing categories of independent living, assisted living or memory care.
Some older adults have only mild problems with memory or what is known as mild cognitive impairment or MCI.
In these cases, assisted living may be not quite enough, but the full-service option of memory care can feel like too much.
People with MCI might experience difficulties with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than those associated with normal aging, but they don’t show other symptoms of dementia.
New Perspective Senior Living in Waconia — in addition to offering apartment homes designed for independent and assisted living and as well as memory care — offers a fourth type of care: Vivid Living.
Anderson’s father, who suffered from MCI, ended up in a sort of “no man’s land” of memory loss in his later years.
“He was really — from a memory perspective — a little too far advanced for assisted living,” Anderson said. “But — from the memory-care side of the business — he wasn’t quite there yet.”
Anderson said it didn’t seem right that his father would need to live in a community with folks who might be non-verbal or non-mobile when he was neither.
At New Perspective Senior Living in Waconia, a separate Vivid Living neighborhood has been catering exclusively to folks with MCI since 2012.
Vivid Living residents are assigned life engagement coaches, who help them throughout the day with gentle but regular cues to help them stay involved in the community’s four pillars of successful aging, which include brain fitness, physical fitness, social/spiritual enrichment and dining/nutrition.
A life engagement coach, Anderson said, might say: “Don’t forget: You’ve got brain fitness in the computer lab at 10 o’clock. You really enjoy doing those brain teasers on the computer. I’ll walk over there with you.”
A life coach might say: “It will be time for lunch in 20 minutes. Why don’t you go get ready and get your hands washed up?”
Anderson said: “It’s helping them and coaching them through the daily activities. Vivid Living allows people with MCI to have more independence than they might normally get in a memory care community.”
Life engagement coaches are involved with residents throughout their days and typically participate in the activities right along with them.
Prices for Vivid Living housing and services, Anderson said, are comparable to memory care, ranging from $115 to $165 per day, not including individual health care or personal care costs.
Its greatest value, Anderson said, is in the dignity the residents enjoy in maintaining a middle level of independence.
Anderson said that although his father could easily get off track if left alone to manage his days, he could get on by himself if he received the right prompting.
“If he was told, ‘Hey, it’s time for bed; you should go brush your teeth and get ready for bed.’ He could go do it,” Anderson said.
New Perspective Senior Living
Where: 500 S. Cherry St., Waconia
Opening date: Opened in 2005 with an addition added in 2012
Ages welcome: 55 and older
Number of units: 116 units across independent living, assisted living, Vivid Living and memory care neighborhoods
Cost for a single resident: Independent living leases start at $2,400 a month which includes one daily meal, utilities and weekly light housekeeping.
Property owner: New Perspectives Senior Living of Eden Prairie
Other locations: Waconia is the only site so far to offer Vivid Living, but New Perspective will be adding the option to other locations later this year. Other facilities are located in Columbia Heights, Roseville, Highland Park, Mahtomedi, Prior Lake, Faribault, Mankato, Cloquet, Barnum and Eagan; as well as in Wisconsin, North Dakota and Illinois.
93-degree warm-water pool
Housekeeping, room service, laundry
Fitness center with on-site physical and occupational therapy
Landscaped grounds and patio
Chef-prepared, restaurant-style meals offered in three dining venues
Cafe featuring Caribou Coffee
Billiards and game room
Social clubs, such as card playing, reading, walking, gardening, baking/cooking and Bible studies
Outdoor fire pits
Third-floor theatre and chapel
Adjacent to Ridgeview Medical Center
Do you know of a new or interesting senior housing facility in the Twin Cities that might make a good Housing Spotlight? Write Minnesota Good Age editor Sarah Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line HOUSING SPOTLIGHT.