Senior care nonprofit Tabitha is going big on intergenerational senior living as part of a new senior living community in the works.
Tabitha in March broke ground on a new community in Lincoln, Nebraska, called InterGenerational Living Community, or InterGen for short. As planned, the $26 million active adult community will include 128 units and span four stories with approximately 155,000 square feet.
Although this is Tabitha’s first foray into active adult senior housing, that’s not what makes the community unique. Instead, the community is housing seniors and college students under one roof through a forward-thinking partnership with Bryan College of Health and Sciences. In fact, Tabitha is setting aside 25 dorm-like units specifically for students — an effort to connect young and old, according to Tabitha Chief of Staff Joyce Ebmeir.
“We wanted to create an environment that would bring students face-to-face with individuals who will benefit from their profession and their services in their care,” said Ebmeir. “And, of course, we hope they fall in love with our seniors and with Tabitha.”
And the community exemplifies the kind of growth that Tabitha is focused on as an organization at this juncture in 2022, with a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) under construction in The Cornhusker State.
The Lincoln, Nebraska-based nonprofit currently operates a portfolio of two assisted living communities, four skilled nursing communities and one hospice home.
In building InterGen, Tabitha is also addressing what its leadership sees as three critical issues in senior housing and care: Meeting the middle market, addressing loneliness and solving industry’s ongoing labor shortage.
Through its partnership with Bryan College of Health and Sciences, InterGen staff will connect residents with college students through cross-generational amenities and programming. At the root of those efforts is a need to help address loneliness in older adults — and students.
“We started learning about loneliness among seniors… but found more loneliness among the student age group and the toll that it takes on their vitality and on their independence and, ultimately, on their whole lives,” Ebmeir told SHN. “We wanted to do something that would intentionally address that health concern.”
Regarding the 25 units earmarked for college students, “[they] will be more akin to dorm-like apartments, although they are pretty posh for young students,” Ebmeir added.
InterGen is designed with intimate common areas including shared kitchens. And, with Lincoln being home to the University of Nebraska and its enormous and historical football tradition the community is outfitted to host tailgating events, according to Ebmier.
The project will also include redevelopment of a local street to provide a safe and walkable path to Bryan College of Health Sciences, which lies only blocks away from the site of the future community.
While the concept of connecting college students and senior living communities isn’t new, Tabitha is building on the trend by using the connection to bolster its workforce by recruiting them into the field of senior care.
“We wanted to create an environment that would bring students face-to-face with individuals who will benefit from their profession and their services in their care,” said Ebmeir. “Consequently, they will have opportunities to join the workforce at Tabitha upon graduation.”
As for meeting the middle-market, the community’s residents won’t have to pay for care costs as part of their monthly rates. And that should keep costs lower for residents.
If all goes according to plan, InterGen will open its doors to residents next year. And outside of that project, Tabitha is growing elsewhere.
For example, Tabitha is opening its first-ever CCRCn in Grand Island, Nebraska.
That community, named Tabitha at Prairie Commons, is slated to include 81 independent living units, 20 assisted living units, 20 memory care units and 36 skilled nursing units, with doors scheduled to open as early as this coming December.
And looking ahead, InterGen and Tabitha at Prairie Commons represent Tabithah’s first moves into low-acuity senior living.
In addition to these two projects, Tabitha is expanding into Omaha and plotting out its next strategic growth period, according to Ebmeir.
“In October, our board will be doing that work with us and by that time we’ll have more bullet points to put in front of them,” she said.