Many traditional senior living providers are recognizing the value of adding home care services to their community-based offerings. And largely, community-based senior living and in-home care acknowledge the relative merits to both lifestyles for elderly clients who are in need of some level of care.
But one provider is taking the alternative approach, in moving from home care into assisted living. And it has created a new niche senior living solution in the process.
The provider is Capital City Nurses, a longtime in-home care provider founded by Susan Rodgers, R.N., nearly 40 years ago. For decades, the company has provided private home care and nursing services to residents in their homes in Maryland and Washington D.C.; it now operates in Virginia and is expanding into Delaware. Employees provide assistance both with activities of daily living as well as more medically driven services such as assistance with medication, which are provided by licensed professionals.
Recently, the Capital City Nurses saw that while its services were effective, there were some clients who simply didn’t want to live at home anymore, but who didn’t want to move into a large, hotel-like assisted living community. And they didn’t require any memory care or dementia care services; just help with basic activities throughout the day.
The company decided to find a location where it could provide the same types of services it had always offered, but in a small, upscale, residential setting.
From there, The Cottage at Curry Manor was born.
To call it an “assisted living community” is a bit of a misnomer, as Curry Manor houses a maximum of eight residents. But all of the licensing is the same as what any assisted living provider faces in the state of Maryland, where the shared residence is located.
“It’s an elegant, refined, non-institutional setting. It’s also for a high-functioning person. There really isn’t a term for this. We have trademarked it ‘Refined Residential Living,’” says Shaun Toomey, director of development for Capital City Nurses, which now operates The Cottage at Curry Manor as a separate entity, with its own staff.
The property itself had to meet certain specifications set by Capital City Nurses when it set to out find a residence. That included open common areas and a park-like setting for outdoor space. The company chose a house in Bethesda, Md., as its site, and began work to widen doorways, install an elevator, remove bathtubs and fully adapt it to make it accessible for the senior residents it would be housing.
“This is now an option that exists,” Toomey says. “Assisted living comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes. You have small group homes that may house four to five people that cater to a memory care-type client. Then there are large beautiful hotel-like assisted living communities that provide a lot of social interaction for people who want that. What we are offering is just a little bit different.”
One of the distinctions is the staff-to-resident ratio, which during the day is three to eight—just for caregiving staff, not including any managers, activities help or others who work in the building.
Monthly rates start at $8,500, including all services, which Toomey says is comparable to other senior living options in the area that offer some level of care. The flat fee does not change, even if a resident’s need for more attention increases.
But the competition that The Cottage at Curry Manor has found in its first year of operation is not traditional assisted living communities; it’s actually home care services.
“The client isn’t necessarily deciding between moving into The Cottage at Curry Manor or another community,” Toomey said. “It’s between staying at home and moving to the Cottage.”
For those who have made the move into the residence, the outcomes are already clear, he says.
“Watching how our residents have blossomed from when they came to us from their home or another assisted living option has been enlightening, wonderful to see. One of our residents came from a resident mix that was more memory care … The cuisine wasn’t fresh or unique. Since she joined us, her care managers and doctors have all commented on how amazing her transition is.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker