Business Spotlight: Home for Life
With the addition of assisted living and memory care units, The Fremont extends its level of care for residents
Brian Hom, Contributing Writer
Monday, July 29, 2013 9:19 AM
Fresh off $5.6 million in expansion work, The Fremont Senior Living represents a new start.
After passing a state health inspection of the new 38,000 square feet, the latest licensure adds 56 assisted living and 16 memory care beds to the community, pushing The Fremont’s total residency to 127 units.
The three-year expansion process, which required rezoning and neighborhood approval, was spearheaded by architect H Design Group. Miller-O’Reilly Co., though recently divested, will continue its property management role for The Fremont, which Executive Director Brad Eldridge says he expects to reach capacity by year’s end.
Operated by Arrow Senior Living in St. Louis, The Fremont’s memory care unit is equipped with motion sensors in each of the 16 rooms. For residents with a shaky grip on cognizant reality, providing a comprehensive continuum of care means far more than three square meals, secure doors and watchful eyes.
Pointing to the wide-open layout of the memory care unit’s kitchen, Eldridge talks about such elements as the therapeutic properties of smell, which research has long-shown to be the tightest sensory link to long-term memory.
“What happens is amazing when the smell of some food cooking triggers a memory in someone,” he says. “You can immediately tell from their body language when that long-term cognitive association kicks in. It changes their whole demeanor.”
Jeff Tweten, a regional director for Arrow Senior Living, says anxiety from moving into senior living care has more to do with unfamiliar people than strange surroundings. With the addition of the assisted living and memory care units, long-term residents of The Fremont can step up their level of care without leaving their neighborhood.
“We call it Home for Life,” say Tweten, who has worked for Arrow since 2008. “It’s something that’s worked very well in our other facilities.”
Now operating three senior living communities in Springfield, St. Louis and Las Vegas, Arrow Senior Living got its start in the mid-2000s as Turnaround Solutions LLC, consulting in assessment, rehab and realignment of failing senior housing projects. Working around the country, Turnaround Solutions has restored dozens of companies to profitability, assembling a toolbox of senior housing best practices, many of which are implemented at The Fremont.
The team in Springfield is led by Eldridge, who took the job earlier this year. He succeeds John Sellars, who last fall returned to the director post at the Springfield-Greene County History Museum. Eldridge is known for managing the Ozark Mountain Ducks semiprofessional baseball team in the early 2000s and most recently managed Americare’s Lakewood assisted living and memory care properties in Springfield.
Eldridge says The Fremont is ramping up its staff of 15 by adding nurses, chefs, medication technicians and administrative workers to keep pace with increases in residents. He expects to be at capacity with 50 employees within six months.
The U.S. senior population continues to swell, with census data from 2000–10 indicating an 18 percent increase in seniors 85 and older – the fastest-growing segment of the senior population. Concurrently, the incidence of dementia in individuals 65 and older is projected to nearly triple in the next 40 years to 13.8 million cases in 2050 from 4.7 million cases in 2010, according to the Journal of Neurology. National experts say dementia, which has quietly become the sixth leading cause of death among those 65 and older, will drastically increase in coming decades.
Brad Eldridge manages The Fremont Senior Living's 22 villas, 56 assisted living beds and 16 memory care beds.
The Fremont Senior Living
Owner: Arrow Senior Living
Address: 1520 E. Bates St., Springfield, MO 65804
Phone: (417) 881-0500
Services/Products: Senior living community, with 127 housing units, including assisted living and memory care accommodations