Florida-based Autumn Senior Living is touting a new model that provides more hands-on care than independent living but does not have as much care as a typical assisted living community. The idea is to offer guaranteed aging-in-place for residents without the entrance fee that is sometimes associated with continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs).
The new assisted living program is called I-Lite, where the “I” stands for independence. That’s what the program is centered around, Autumn Senior Living CEO Jim Soper told Senior Housing News.
“It’s under the same assisted living license, but it’s not like assisted living at all,” he said. “We’ve looked at various issues and focused on the apprehensions residents have when moving into a facility. We wanted to make a program that was all about choice so they know coming in that they would still be able to live the life they want.”
Autumn Senior Living currently operates and owns five communities with four more communities in the development pipeline, including I-Lite communities.
In I-Lite communities residents will be able to live as independently as they wish, but can be helped in a discreet manner by staff members. Each resident receives a tailor-made program.
There are I-Lite communities under construction in the Florida communities of Brandon and Westchase, as well as the already-established Sarasota community. The Brandon community will open its I-Lite facility in early 2018, and Sarasota and Westchase will open later in 2018.
The communities in Brandon and Westchase will also include memory care that will open this year. The Sarasota community already has a memory care building that has room for 80 residents.
Not a CCRC
The I-Lite program doesn’t necessarily fall into the typical categories of care that the industry is used to. Residents pay a monthly fee, but are not required to pay a buy-in fee that is sometimes seen in continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). Still, they can age-in-place in their units.
“We still have different levels of care and we do charge more for more care, but you are only paying for what your require,” said Soper. “If there is a month where you need more care, we have a meeting after the month to discuss a potential plan if that care needs to continue. We don’t just tack on money.”
And if a resident does move up in care level, they do not have to move to a different part of the community. Even as final days approach for some residents, they don’t have to go into hospice; the I-Lite program brings hospice services to their residence.
The Importance of Choice
The overarching goal of the new program is to make sure the residents’ quality of life is respected and that the services are provided with compassion and dignity, added Soper.
The independence aspect of the program gives each resident the choice as to what he or she wants to do each day.
“If we have a resident who is socially unengaged, we sit down with the resident and his or her family and make sure we have something available that they are interested in,” Soper explained. “We’ve introduced a fishing program for residents who like to fish. We had one resident say they wanted to go to see Cirque Du Soleil and made a whole trip out of it. A dozen residents went to the show and then went to a Blue’s Brothers themed bar after. That is choice and flexibility.”
In addition to outings, the new I-Lite communities will have numerous amenities like a Panera-style dining option available to residents whenever they are hungry, concierge services, live music daily, group exercise classes, club room and pet walking services.
In total, the three projects will be able to accommodate nearly 400 residents and each property will cost about $33 million.
“Residents in I-Lite communities will have so much flexibility. Nobody will have to be anywhere at any certain time if they don’t choose to,” Soper said. “We want to empower residents and let them know just because they live here they don’t have to give up their freedom.”
Written by Alana Stramowski