Retirement community is ‘first of its kind’ in promoting wellness solutions within long-term care.
The City of Tega Cay announced today that Charlotte, N.C.-based Senior Living Communities will construct a $30 million premier retirement community, named Wellmore, in the Stonecrest Development located on SC Highway 160. The community is expected to create nearly 130 local jobs in health care and management, with sitework and landscape design contracts awarded to local firms.
“The motto of the City of Tega Cay is ‘The Good Life,’ ”said Mayor George Sheppard. “In the past, one of our major obstacles was that many of our older citizens were forced to leave the City when their health care needs increase. With the addition of Wellmore, they can stay in the community they love and are so proud of while continuing to live ‘The Good Life.’
I am very excited to be working with Senior Living Communities and am honored that they have chosen Tega Cay to be the launching point for expanding their nationally recognized wellness model. I think it is great that once again we are recognized as a recreational community that is considerate of the needs of our senior population while promoting good health and good welfare for all.”
Wellmore will serve as the flagship for what company executives describe as a hybrid wellness and health care model centered around nationally recognized initiatives which extend and improve the lives of older adults. The community will offer assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing services (pending approval by the state) as well as a community clubhouse, gourmet dining and a wellness center for residents.
Senior Living Communities’ Chief Executive Officer Donald Thompson says Wellmore will span nearly 130,000 square feet once complete, with residential accommodations and a 25,000-square-foot-clubhouse and wellness center. He hopes to begin construction as early as July 2012 and open the community in January 2014.
City Manager Dennis Pieper said city officials are excited to bring a first-class community to Tega Cay.
“The project will bring great economic growth to the city and to the region by providing high-quality skilled jobs, state of the art facilities and services,” Pieper said. “The Wellmore team has been excellent to work with. We are proud that they have selected Tega Cay to infuse such capital into the local economy while improving the quality of living for our senior community.”
With the 65-and-older population soaring to new heights as the Baby Boomers reach retirement age, long-term care options are especially needed in South Carolina where the Department of Health and Environmental (DHEC) identified a deficit of 218 skilled nursing beds in York County alone as of November 1, 2010. In its 2010-2011 Health Plan, DHEC estimates that South Carolina will be home to nearly 665,000 adults over the age of 65 by 2013.
Wellmore must apply for a Certificate of Need (CON) to operate skilled nursing services, but Thompson is confident DHEC will recognize that a need exists in York County.
“What we are proposing with Wellmore is to not only fulfill an existing need, but to also use the Tega Cay site as a launching point for expanding our nationally recognized wellness model throughout the country,” he said. “We’re not simply maintaining the status quo, we’re proposing a radically different set of standards for long-term care which currently do not exist within our industry. The end result is a big gain for future Wellmore residents, York County and the entire state of South Carolina.”
Thompson says Wellmore is the only proposed retirement community on the market employing so-called “purpose-based wellness programming” to help residents live longer and healthier lives.
“When we are in our 20s, 30s, and 40s, we view exercise and good nutrition as a vanity-driven endeavor,” he said. “As we reach our 60s, 70s or 80s, physical activity and nutrition have a greater impact on our ability to successfully navigate life’s daily challenges. Purpose-based wellness programming arms older adults with a non-clinical, cost-effective way to maintain their independence as they age.”
Thompson says Wellmore is the culmination of years of research and millions of dollars spent in developing wellness programming which helps older adults better manage chronic diseases or recover from negative health events, such as a fall-related fracture.
In 2010 and 2011, the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) awarded Senior Living Communities consecutive ‘Best of the Best’ awards for two of its purpose-based wellness programs. The programs, Waves and C.L.I.M.B., focused on reducing symptoms associated with dementia through aquatic exercises and improving lower-body strength to prolong independence.
Thompson believes purpose-based wellness programming represents the future of long-term care since its solves the dual issue of helping providers maximize Medicare reimbursements though evidence-based, preventive medicine while allowing residents to improve their health outside of a traditional, clinical setting. He says the company currently has wellness programming in place designed to address diabetes, lower back pain, obesity, osteoporosis, COPD, macular degeneration, Parkinson’s, and osteoarthritis.
With plans to build up to 10 Wellmore communities throughout the Southeast, including at least one more in South Carolina, Thompson is looking forward to an aggressive construction schedule and the grand opening of the flagship property in Tega Cay.
“Our analysis shows that York County has a defined need, a strong talent pool and the community support to make Wellmore a huge success,” Thompson said. “We are confident that the City of Tega Cay is the optimal location to launch the next generation of long-term care.”