Kendal Planning ‘Zen-Inspired’ Community in California Wine Country

Though many senior living providers have wellness or mindfulness initiatives, the Kendal Corporation could take the practice a step further with a community planned around the zen concept of “living lightly on the land.”

The Kennett Square, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit is teaming up with senior housing developer Greenbrier and the San Francisco Zen Center to open a new “zen-inspired” senior living community in Healdsburg, California, which lies in the heart of Sonoma wine country.

“The community, which will nurture the practices of meditation and mindfulness, will be part of the Kendal System, designed for a diverse population with wide-ranging needs and interests, and operated with a spirit of inclusion,” Kendal noted on its website. “A variety of wellness and fitness programs will be provided, and community members will organize virtually all aspects of social, cultural, intellectual and spiritual life.”

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Mindfulness has played a role in more than a half dozen Kendal communities, with residents and staff there practicing meditation, yoga and tai chi, according to Kendal’s website. Still, the Sonoma project represents a “first of its kind opportunity” for the wellness concept, the company added.

As envisioned, the community would have between 200 and 250 apartments in addition to 24 assisted living and 30 memory care units, with some skilled nursing services likely provided by Kendal’s local partners. It’s anticipated that the community will be a life plan community with a repayable entrance fee and monthly rent—though Kendal has not yet revealed the community’s price range.

Amenities include a meditation hall staffed by senior zen practitioners and a dining venue inspired by vegetarian eatery Greens Restaurant, which the San Francisco Zen Center founded in the city’s Fort Mason area nearly 40 years ago. Residents can also attend retreats, on-campus classes and lectures, work in the garden or cook together.

Kendal is still finalizing its plans for the community and therefore declined to comment when reached by Senior Housing News. If all goes according to plan, however, workers will break ground on the community in 2020, with an anticipated opening date in 2022.

Written by Tim Regan

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