Potomac, MD/ Washington Post — The number of older Washingtonians is increasing—according to reports from the District of Columbia State Plan on Aging, older Americans had the highest population increase in D.C. between 2010 and 2016. But for these individuals, making a choice about where to live during their sunset years can be a challenge.
The World Health Organization reports that people’s physical and social environments, such as their homes and neighborhoods, are a significant influence when it comes to healthy aging. And there’s no better place for them to get quality, steady care than Brandywine Living. Since 1996, they have made a name for themselves as leaders in luxury senior living, with 30 communities across seven states.
Brandywine Living at Potomac aims to provide a safe, welcoming living environment for just those people. The 120-suite mid-Atlantic community, which plans to officially open its doors in spring 2021, will welcome residents from throughout the DMV looking for a safe, comfortable place to spend their life’s golden era.
The epitome of deluxe living
One of Brandywine’s signature standards across its portfolio is an unflagging commitment to ensuring guests get all the comforts of home—and then some—through a variety of high-end apartments, amenities and accommodations.
“It’s luxury living for those who want to stay active and be as independent as possible while still receiving quality, attentive care,” said Alphonso Westley, executive director of Brandywine Living at Potomac. This is especially important, as many seniors equate quality of life with an ability to live somewhat independently, according to an article from the Journal of Aging Research.
Residents can expect personal-care offerings such as chefs, chauffeurs and concierges who will assist them by taking them to appointments or delivering necessities and other comforts right to their rooms. Along with warm and inviting interiors, Brandywine at Potomac will feature interior and exterior courtyards, outdoor patios, an aquatic therapy pool and gym, a beauty salon, a movie theater, multiple dining venues and private dining rooms.
In addition to the concierges and a registered nurse on site 24 hours a day, residents will have access to Brandywine’s nationally recognized Reflections program, which aims to offer a stimulating, supportive and safe approach to caring for residents with memory-related needs. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 42 percent of residential care community residents in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.)
“It’s not just a beautiful building—we are going to provide really good care on top of that,” said Matt Kelley, Brandywine Living at Potomac’s director of community relations.
Care that goes above and beyond
For those looking for an elevated level of memory care, a dedicated wing on Brandywine Living at Potomac’s ground floor will be designated for Reflections Serenade residents. This group of 30-plus larger apartments will come complete with the standard Reflections memory-related care, along with butler service for an added layer of convenience, and neuropsychology offerings to educate and counsel residents and their families on living with memory loss.
Brandywine also offers what is known as the INVEST Mission, wherein staff and residents’ families and friends participate in activities like My Life My Story, where residents are reminded of and can participate in their past interests (such as baking or crocheting). They can also be part of the Promenade Club, which encourages residents who are able to live an active, socially engaged life to take part in various activities happening around the property.
“[These programs were] created so that we can focus on our residents and gain that commitment to create special moments in a social environment,” said Westley.
While a focus on meeting each and every need is a high priority, it’s the level of care provided by the Brandywine team that truly makes the community stand head and shoulders above similar living centers. Kelley recalled a story of a resident at another Brandywine property who loved cutting flowers; every week, the property’s butler would go get her flowers, vases, scissors and ribbon and deliver them to her room, so she could engage in her beloved hobby.
“We make sure residents have what they need, whether it’s stocking them with their favorite soft drink or whatever else it might be,” Kelley said.
Finding ways to stay connected
While a move to an assisted living center comes with its own adjustment period, covid-19 has made staying in touch with family and friends more critical than ever. With that in mind, Brandywine has embraced new technologies and protocols across all of its properties to help facilitate communication.
At Brandywine’s existing locations, “We’ve been doing about 100 calls per week with residents and resident families,” said Jennifer Soss, producer of Brandywine’s resident entertainment programming, dubbed Escapades…For Life! She added that they’ve taken the time to familiarize themselves with all of the popular video, calling and messaging apps to ensure that each family can easily reach their loved one. The Brandywine team is also coordinating outdoor visits, and families can do indoor visits as well if they get negative test results beforehand and wear masks while inside the building.
Ahead of its 2021 opening, Brandywine Living at Potomac is working to pivot activities for their residents to keep everyone safe without sacrificing connection once they arrive. Other properties have introduced creative ways to keep residents active and engaged, such as a remote tour of the National Portrait Gallery, virtual reality goggles paired with tablets that allow for virtual travel to Paris or Dubai, as well as socially distanced fitness, crafting and painting classes.
When it’s safe to do so, Brandywine at Potomac will offer a fount of ways for future residents to get to know one another in person, including musical entertainment shows, weekly happy hours, holiday parties, outdoor family picnics, day trips and antique car events. (Past day trips have included the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the United States Capitol and time spent aboard a water taxi on the Potomac River.)
“What we offer at Brandywine is beyond just peace of mind,” said Westley. “We put that into action.” The new location in Potomac, he added, will allow residents to take advantage of living not only in a scenic environment but also in a diverse, richly historical area surrounded by a community of multigenerational neighborhoods.